School textbooks have done us a massive disservice. Through their unimaginative presentation and indifference towards otherwise interesting subjects, we’ve been conditioned to think of learning as a chore; undesirable to anyone but a nerd.
Luckily for us, brilliant authors, researchers and essayists from across the world managed to pick up where textbooks let off. The world of non-fiction reading is filled with books on subjects one would never usually associate with fun, but, then again, fun is only what you make of it, right? Read through our selection of the most fun educational books out there and pick one that will teach you something you’d love to learn more about. We promise you’ll come out of it feeling enriched.
Made to Stick, Chip And Dan Heath
Gives you the fun-damentals on: Business Psychology
Picking up the concept of ‘stickiness’ which Malcolm Gladwell popularised in his book, The Tipping Point, this collection of stories and case studies explores what makes an idea or a concept ‘stick’, i.e. what makes it memorable or interesting. The book presents case studies from across various sectors and highlight why these ideas are considered special, and the topics range from studying low-cost airlines to a passionate mess hall manager. The brothers’ easy-to-understand writing style sets this apart from other case study books.
Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely
Gives you the fun-damentals on: Behavioural Economics
As the author himself explains, “My goal, by the end of this book, is to help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick. I hope to lead you there by presenting a wide range of scientific experiments, findings, and anecdotes that are in many cases quite amusing. Once you see how systematic certain mistakes are—how we repeat them again and again—I think you will begin to learn how to avoid some of them.”
A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
Gives you the fun-damentals on: Almost everything science has to offer
If the thought of understanding science puts you off – perhaps due to the complicated language or inaccessible subjects – then you have something in common with the author. Bill Bryson, who is famous for his travel books, was unsatisfied with his lack of scientific knowledge, so he determined to understand it on a fundamental level. This book is the result of his explorations – a brilliantly simple, yet incisive look at several aspects of science, from the Big Bang all the way to particle physics.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat, Oliver Sacks
Gives you the fun-damentals on: Neurology And Psychology
How many times in your life will you find yourself in an operating theatre and not on the sharp end of a scalpel? Well, here’s your chance to delve into the fascinating world of neurology, through the case studies of some of the patients of the brilliant neurologist, Oliver Sacks. Each section of the book deals with a particular aspect of the brain’s functions and they offer stunning insight into what makes us tick on a cranial level. And, in case you were wondering, the title of the book is meant to be quite literal.
From the Ruins of Empire, Pankaj Mishra
Gives you the fun-damentals on: History
Modernism is an unstoppable force. In the late 19th century, Asia found itself under assault by the unassailable march of Western modernism. Its long held cultural identity and traditions under threat, Asian intellectuals drew up several plans of resisting the sweeping changes. In this fascinating account, Mishra tells the tale of two little-known intellectuals – Persia-born Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, and Chinese intellectual Liang Qichao. With his excellent narrative style, Mishra manages to oscillate between intellectual biography and historical essay, while keeping the reader’s attention glued to the many paths the major Asian countries ventured upon on their way to modernity.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
Gives you the fun-damentals on: Food science and agriculture
While it may be quite America-centric, Pollan’s brilliant dissection of the food industry, modern eating habits and the food that sustains us is applicable to most developing countries as well. He breaks down food chains that we’ve grown to be dependent on – industrial food, organic food, and food we forage ourselves – and explores its entire path on the way to our dining tables. The findings in the book will no doubt be quite surprising (and perhaps even shocking) the most people, but even more so to advocates of organic foods.
Buyology: Truth And Lies About Why We Buy, Martin Lindstrom
Gives you the fun-damentals on: Neuromarketing
How often do we stop to think about what we’re buying? In our hyper-consumerist world, which is cluttered with messages and images, we rarely find the time to examine our buying decisions. Sure, you’ve probably read plenty about the science behind advertising and promotions, but what if we were to tell you that most of it is just made up? In this fascinating look behind the veil of the world of marketing, Lindstrom reveals the results of his three-year-long neuromarketing study on 2081 people to identify the effect of brands, logos, commercials, advertisements and products on them.
Like this article? Also read: These Books Should Be on Every School’s Essential Reading List
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