Stimulating Books

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Francis Bacon

I read to learn new skills and experience new imaginative worlds, but I also am constantly seeking books that will expand my mind. I want to think deeply and broadly about things. I want to see and understand how disciplines (and the universe) connects.

Reading—fiction and nonfiction—is a fantastic way to expand your thinking and creativity.

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.”

Rene Descartes

You’ve likely come across a book or two before that is waaaaay over your head. Perhaps it was written in a different era, such as Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, or a different land from your own, like Rumi’s poetry or stories of the Wild American West.

It’s a fine balance, but the best kind of mind-expanding books are once that are just a little over your head, while not being too hard to read to be off-putting. These are the kind of books that reward you on revisits. The first time I read Lord of The Rings or Pride and Prejudice, I could get through it, but I didn’t fully grok it. I enjoyed them, but I was just too inexperienced to fully appreciate them. It wasn’t until I read them later that something clicked and I began to fall in love with older books. Now I try to read at least one (usually more) older book in my reading stack.

It does us no good to just read the latest and greatest books. We need to dig deeper and find the sources too.

Books are like people—you are the sum of the books you surround yourself with the most. If all you read are the latest business bestsellers, then how much do you truly know about business and the values and principles that it takes to succeed in business? What’s its history look like? What makes it work? What does a great business look like? Who were the greatest business leaders of all time?

And speaking of people, Biographies are a great starting point to finding books that stimulate you.

Here are a few to get you going:

Leonardo da Vinci: Walter Isaacson

The Gene: An Intimate History: Siddhartha Mukherjee

Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix: Charles R. Cross

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #958

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