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Neil deGrasse Tyson

8 books that every intelligent person should read

Evolve, Inspire

Neil deGrasse Tyson recommends a series of books that will help us understand how the history of the Western world was formed.

The world of scientific divulgation has been seized, largely, by the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and the re-launching of his series, Cosmos. DeGrasse is characterized by his great intelligence and his ability to popularize the universe’s most complex theories. Not so long ago, a user asked the scientist: what books should the planet’s smart people read?

His answer is fairly complete, with and evident preference of informative and theoretical books. Nonetheless, his list does not lack fiction —the Bible and The Prince are there—. Below is the list of titles chosen by the theoretician, accompanied by a sentence explaining their importance, which in his words is a “statement about how the content of the book has influenced the behavior of the people who shaped the Western world.”

1.) The Bible (eBook) – “to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.”

2.) The System of the World by Isaac Newton (eBook) – “to learn that the universe is a knowable place.”

3.) On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.”

4.) Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.”

5.) The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.”

6.) The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.”

7.) The Art of War by Sun Tsu (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.”

8.) The Prince by Machiavelli (eBook – Audio Book) – “to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.”

Tyson concludes by saying: “If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.”

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