Skip to content

10 Books To Ramp Up Your Intellect

Books To Ramp Up Your Intellect

Are you looking for books to boost your intellect?
Here are 10 books that you must read. My favorite reads over this past year.
Written by: Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D

There is a rule in my household. If anyone wants to read a book, for any reason, I will buy it. Society has this false belief that education ends after receiving a formal, professional degree. It is absurd. There is no endpoint for mastering the human psyche.

You don’t get public recognition for understanding why you screamed at someone questioning your morals. You don’t get a cake for untangling a knot in a friendship, only to cherish and enjoy each other’s company again. Maybe you should.

Books, and talking about them, is one of the best ways to continually increase your intelligence and wisdom. If these lofty goals are uninteresting, just lose yourself in a state of flow for hours. Recharge your batteries. Appreciate exotic landscapes. Fall in love with characters and safely wrestle with their foreign perspectives.

You are the books you read
10 Books To Ramp Up Your Intellect

Contrary to notable magazines and newspapers, I do not provide an end-of-year list of books published in 2019. I take recommendations too seriously to care about publication dates. I will detail the best books I read over the past 12 months. This list is a portion of my 60+ books read. The title is a hyperlink to purchase each book, so you can immediately initiate an emotional roller coaster or intellectual journey. I bet my reputation on these picks. Enjoy!

1. Other People’s Love Affairs by D. Wystan Owen

For those that can appreciate melancholy. Not sadness, not depression, but melancholy. The state of being when just like every human being, some desirable features of life are out of reach. A friendship that no longer fits. Nostalgia for the silly conversations of youth. Being forgiven for a cruel act that only serves as a reminder of a shadow side you’d rather forget.

And this is painful, and yet, beautiful. In melancholy, your senses are finely attuned. You are alive. This is a short collection of 10 stories that capture the full depth of trying, failing, succeeding in relationships, only to repeat the cycle anew. I hesitate to give the storyline of any of them. But here are a few passages that I underlined:

He made his hands into fists and pressed them under his eyes, the way Joey Makepeace had said you could do. You put your fists on the tops of your cheeks and you pressed there. It was a way to be brave.

What he had been offered was a place on the periphery, a chance to play at something that was not quite his: like a plain, unmarried girl asked to hold the train of her younger sister’s wedding gown…the thought of such a role had always saddened him, but as he turned for home it seemed that perhaps it would be enough, that he might manage eventually to supplement his solitary pleasures with new vicarious and borrowed ones…

If you want to feel, really feel, pick up this series.

Also read: 25 Best Nonfictions That Will Change Your Perception Of Reality

2. The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

You do not sufficiently understand why you behave the way you do. Why do you take joy in seeing someone ostracized at a party, thankful that it’s not you? Why you cannot handle long silences at meals. Why you are too eager about any sexual opportunity. Why do you feel compelled to make jokes in group situations when deeper conversations would be more satisfying.

And you know even less about other people and their aggression, obsessions, envy, micromanaging, and desire to look like a saint (while quite often fighting to resist a reservoir of cravings and lusts). This is a 586-page treatise that looks beneath the facade of what people try to be and into the deep, often dark role-playing games being played. I cannot say this enough—the insights are worth the effort. Here is one of my many dog-eared passages:

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Todd B Kashdan

A world-recognized authority on well-being, strengths, social relationships, stress, and anxiety, Dr. Todd Kashdan has published over 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the author of The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why being your whole self - not just your “good” self - drives success and fulfillment (Hudson Street Press) and Curious? Discover the missing ingredient to a fulfilling life (HarperCollins). His books have been translated into over 15 languages. Dr. Kashdan is a Professor of Psychology at George Mason University. He received the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology and the Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year at George Mason University. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and Association for Contextual and Behavioral Science.View Author posts