What TNW is reading (week 10)

What TNW is reading (week 10)
Credit: Total Film (via Giphy)

Ah, welcome welcome.

I see you enjoyed last week’s edition and are back for more. Well we won’t disappoint. For the uninitiated (go back and start at post one, please) the team at TNW has made a New Year’s Resolution to read a bit more. So every week, a select number of our team will share with you what’s currently living on their nightstand, or saved in Pocket, or is sitting in that browser tab begging to be read.

This week we have insights into a motorcycle journey that leads into life’s fundamental questions, a whimsical encyclopedia of the embalmed people, the record of how we came about and a groundbreaking tour of the way we think. Happy reading.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig

It’s a philosophical book couched in the story of a man and his young son going on a motorcycle trip across the United States. This is the third time I’ve read it, and each time I understand a little more of the book and the story it attempts to tell.

The thing that brings me back time and again is the clarity with which the author/protagonist describes the world around him.

The dry leaves, the warm roads, the busy people, all the time moving back and forth from the motorcycle journey to the development of the metaphysical ideas, the history of philosophy, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and the Sophists of ancient Greece.

No lies, it keeps me awake at night and has sparked a whole new set of ideas in my head.

– Nick Dowse, Back-end developer for pr.co

The Book of the Dead: Lives of the Justly Famous and the Undeservedly Obscure – John Lloyd and John Mitchinson

The Book of the Dead isn’t what you’d expect from a tome with such a sinister title.

It covers an extremely well-curated selection of people who are now deceased, grouped and categorized based on interesting similarities.

There are only two requirements, the subjects must be dead and they must be interesting in one way or another. The authors highlight some very interesting patterns in the lives of noteworthy people, and how they went about becoming noteworthy.

This is a very great read for anyone who enjoys anecdotes about great people from history, have a general interest in sociology and just want something that makes them go “Hey, that’s interesting.”

– Cecil Kleine, Project Manager for Index.co

A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

At school I never had any true interest in science topics such as physics or chemistry. Even though I had to listen to lectures for many hundreds of hours, it didn’t make much sense and, more importantly, it didn’t inspire.

Some years after leaving school, when I was 20, I discovered this book from Bill Bryson. If there’s one person capable of explaining difficult topics in a fascinating way, it’s this man.

From the tiniest of particles to big concepts such as evolution, from geology to quantum mechanics. He doesn’t only explain it in a compelling way, more interestingly, he tells about the often dreadful journey that scientists make in their quest to understand and explain the world.

This book has had a huge impact on me and how I view the world. It sparked a deep curiosity, eager to understand the mechanics of anything in our world and beyond, bit by bit.

Jeff Andries, Senior Designer for The Next Web

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Memorial Prize psychologist and his book will completely change the way you look at and perceive everything around you.

The main idea is that people have two different systems of thinking and making decisions: System 1 which uses associations and metaphors to produce a very quick draft of reality, and System 2 which is significantly slower, but more analytical and deliberate.

Every basic concept (which we think we understand) is broken down into individual parts and analyzed separately. It made me realize that a huge part of our lives is constantly influenced and hindered by using these two systems in the wrong situations.

Whether you are trying to understand other people, yourself or just curious about psychology, this is definitely something you should read. The time spent going through it will pay off ten-fold.

Alex Gosman, Yield Manager for The Next Web

This is a #TNWLife article, a look into the lives of those that work at The Next Web.

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