I do. I love non-fiction. It’s entertaining and informative and my non-fiction reading provides a lot of writing inspiration. Below, I’ve outlined the books coming up on my non-fiction reading list. Two are go-to favorites. The others I’ll work through over the next several months. As the titles and subject matter suggest, I’m reading (and writing) a lot about the intersection of science and humanity, and (no surprise) seeing related themes show up in a number of my idea scribbles and early drafts.
Categories: On the Beauty of Physics by Hilary Thayer Hamann, Emiliano Sefusatti & many contributors – This book is one of my all-time favorites ever. It holds a permanent spot on my “ideal bookshelf”, and also on the table next to the chair in my office where I read and re-read it perpetually. I’ve loved physics since eleventh grade when I was fortunate enough to have a teacher who taught the beauty of the science as well as the theory. This book does the same by marrying scientific theory and the arts. Per the introduction, the goal is to “facilitate the readers encounter with challenging material” and to “promote scientific literacy, foster an appreciation of the humanities, and encourage readers to make informed and imaginative connections between the sciences and the arts.” The result is a kind of book perfection.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves – My husband is ‘manager’ by title, but a leader and a teacher at heart. I’ve learned a lot from what he shares about his efforts in teaching and practicing leadership with his colleagues. This book is one of his favorites. He sent me a copy after an argument. (Really. He did. He’s an indirect communicator, and that is a whole different post worth of musing.) I’m familiar with the EQ concepts from our talks, but I’ve not completed the assessments. Nor have I actually read the book. That fun little self-study is on the early 2014 ‘to-do’ list. A decade of corporate experience has shown me emotional maturity can separate the good from the great, so I look forward to (maybe) developing some more skill in this arena. I plan to share a post about the before and after here as well, so if you’re interested, there’ll be more to come on this.
How Music Works by David Byrne – As a self-proclaimed music lover/fanatic/junkie, etc., this book, and it’s acclaim, got my attention. I’m fascinated by music as an art, and generally very fascinated with where art and business meet (clash?), so I’m looking forward to insight from a man whose life has been devoted to music, and who’s maneuvered the business, and its changes for a long time. I’m also particularly interested in some of the techie, detailed info about the studio work, partially as research for my current work-in-progress, but also because I so admire songwriters and want to understand as much as possible about how the beautiful scribbles in their notebooks, through artistry, talent, and technology, are shaped into the songs we hear.
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr – My other science love is brain science (more below), and I often wonder what the internet is doing to humanity; our lives, relationships, communities, world, and brains. Like most, I’m not convinced it’s ALL good, but I’m not likely to stop using the internet, or even temper my dependency / possible addiction, either. I look forward to the author’s insights, and wonder if the info will concern me enough to actually cause a change in behavior. Or, maybe, at least make me feel guilty about not thinking harder about changing my behavior.
The Human Brain by Rita Carter – This is another perpetually referenced book on my shelf. I like to try to understand how science explains our physical/biological existence (at a high level). Then, I try to think what this (admittedly limited) understanding might tell us about life and our broader spiritual existence.
Love 2.0 by Barbara Fredrickson – This is an extension of the two entries above. Love, to me, is the supreme evidence for faith in God and humanity. Love is not visible unless we act upon it, but for those who have felt it, its power is undeniable. For those who live with the absence of it, that’s a powerful, undeniable example as well. This book uses research and examples to show (more) concrete evidence about the power of love in our lives.
Are any of these titles on your to-read or have-read list? Thoughts? Other recommendations? What are some other most favorite non-fiction books out there? I like to keep the to-read lists and piles full.