Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked on Reddit: “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?” Adding to history’s notable reading lists — including those by Leo Tolstoy, Alan Turing, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Stewart Brand, and Carl Sagan, he recommended these eight books each followed by a brief statement explaining how the content of these books “influenced the behavior of the people who shaped the western world.”
1- The Bible, 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, to learn that the universe is a knowable place.
3- On The Origin Of Species, by Charles Darwin, to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.
4- Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.
5- The Age Of Reason, by Thomas Paine, 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, to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.
7- The Art Of War, by Sun Tzu, to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.
8- The Prince, by Machiavelli, 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.
“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.” Tyson adds.