Since returning to Bangkok from the US, I’ve been reading a lot, or I guess listening is a better way to say it since I typically use audiobooks. It is sometimes surprising how much a single book can open your mind, or give you insight into something you hadn’t otherwise thought about. Lately, I’ve read some excellent ones, described below.  Currently I’m reading Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, which so far is an absolutely amazing book.

A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking – I’ve always been interested in physics. The way I see physics is simply a way for us, humans, to perceive the world.  We define things, like math, we create formulas which enable us to make quicker calculations which then enable us to do cooler things that gives us insight into something, like building a structure or flying a plane.  This book talks about the universe, what we know about it and why.  Ever wondered how we can estimate the distance a star is from us? Or how we know the universe is expanding.  This book is deep, but provides so excellent perceptual points into that kind of physics.

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner – Similar to physics, economics is something I’m very interested in.  As the world becomes more complex, we rely on economical views to create vast change.  For example, the effect of changing interest rates in the US.  Changing an interest rate is simple, yet how it affects society is quite complex.  A lot of times, the answer to a change or trend is not direct.  Freakonomics analyzes data in a way that provides outcomes that are convincing, yet not obvious. It talks about a lot of different interesting topics, and is well worth the read if you’re interested in that kind of stuff.

Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely – Dan goes into detail about how humans make lots of decisions, often irrational decisions.  They are decisions that we don’t even know are irrational, which is somewhat odd since they are predictable. Dan has an extensive background in this field, and this book provides a great view into how and why humans make decisions. One of the topics is how humans act irrationally during when aroused. After reading it, you’ll likely have a different view of how you and the people around you make choices.

Rich Dad Poor Dad,  by Robert Kiyosaki – I’ve put this book off for awhile, but after being recommended by a friend, I decided to read it over the course of a few days. The idea it presents is right, but I don’t think I’m the target audience.  I think this book is excellent for the average American wondering what they’re doing. It talks about societies working chain, investments, and the differences of understanding money. I’d recommend it to anyone currently living a lifestyle they don’t like or working in a place they don’t enjoy.  Or even if you do enjoy it, is it worth practically half of your conscience life to be there?

Many many more books on my list which I hope to knock down over the coming months.  I’m off to the Philippines in a couple weeks, where I will be traveling for 3 weeks – should be exciting.