Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) Humans are not rational, but they are irrational in predictable ways. Learn to think better by reading this book.
The Undoing Project (Michael Lewis) About the researchers behind the book about, their incredible friendship and story. Also, an interesting insight to compare the inside and outside view.
Algorithms to live by (Brian Christian) How can abstract computer algorithms be applied to profound cases of the human condition? I assumed I would get disappointed, by flat examples and weird metaphors, but Christian did an amazing job linking the two topics. You can learn equally well about the mathematics behind computer science and better ways to lead your life.
Rationality: From AI to Zombies (Eliezer Yudkowsky) The “how to actually change your mind” part is the one I liked best.
Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman (Richard Feynman)
In Search of Memory (Eric Kandel) The history of brain science, the story of Kandel’s Nobel prize-winning research on how the brain forms memories in parallel with his own memories and life.
A Scanner Darkly (Philip K. Dick) To my mind the best book of the SciFi genius behind Minority Report. Blade Runner and so much more.
Hallucinations (Oliver Sacks) You are your brain. Really.
100 Diagrams that changed the world (Scott Christianson)
Exact Thinking in Demented Times: The Vienna Circle and the Epic Quest for the Foundations of Science (Karl Sigmund, Foreword by Douglas Hofstadter) As I live in and love Vienna, love to think about clearer thinking and about science, and enjoy to learn about history, this was pure gold.
80,000 Hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good (Ben Todd)
The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life (Kevin Simler, Robin Hanson) X is not about X, it is about signaling. Signaling theory is very important to understand humans more deeply.
A Billion Wicked Thoughts (Sai Gaddam, Ogi Ogas) What do we have the most data on online? Correct. Porn. How about we analyze what people do consume anonymously online? And work together with a sexual psychologist to make sense out of what we can learn from it about human sexuality! This book is the outcome.
Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference (William MacAskill)
Psychologie des Glücks (Anton Bucher)
Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving (Betty Dodson)
What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (Thomas Nagel) Philosophy is incredibly broad. This book, however, takes you from absolute laymen to having a rough idea about what philosophy is about. And all of that with very little pages and in little time.
How to Think Straight about Psychology (Keith E. Stanovich) We read “a study says…” and “psychology” everywhere, but not everything that says “study” or “psychology” is actually academic and professional psychology. Most often it is actually far from it. This book helps you to differentiate quickly between pseudoscience and actual science in psychology and therefore lets you skip a lot of bullshit in the future.
Manifest des evolutionären Humanismus (Michael Schmidt-Salomon) This and the other books by Michael Schmidt-Salomon show a reasonable approach to a meaningful, fun and ethical life without religion but in a secular worldview.
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (Barry Schwartz)
Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love (Dorothy Tennov) Have you ever been obsessively in love while noticing that the other person isn’t actually that great, but you couldn’t let go or stop thinking about him or her anyway? You are not the only one. Tennov explains the phenomenon of “limerence” in this book. You are not alone with it for sure.
Miteinander reden. Störungen und Klärungen. (Friedemann Schulz von Thun) Communication is difficult, after reading Schulz von Thun it is mildly less so.
The Auschwitz Report (Witold Pilecki) Read the report by the man who went to Auschwitz voluntarily to build a resistance. His stoic way of dealing with his situation is awe-inspiring and puts so many things into perspective, while of course, it is also an important historical document to read.
Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (Melanie Joy) The psychology of eating meat and other justification processes of actions that are (not really) “normal, necessary and natural”