Intellectually entertaining books

Why reading make us free

The better way to spend our free time
The better way to spend our free time
13 JUL 2016

What would be a better and rewarding way to spend our free time other than engaging with an interesting book that stimulates our curiosity with every page we flip? And as Henry Ward Beecher says, “where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?” Reading is an addictive intellectual entertainment for most people. It is a doorway to a limitless word beyond time and space, as it offers access to history, science, philosophy, literature, and a wide range of other topics. The following are few titles pertaining to different topics and an awesome material for a valuable investment of your free time.

Beginning with literature, the first book is 1984 by George Orwell. The book is published in 1949, it is a dystopian account of a post-war world consumed by oppression and fear. Orwell’s dystopia lacks all forms of free thinking and individualism. It is a world where history is perpetually distorted to serve and sustain the ruling government and its manipulative schemes to keep the people under utter control. Yet, despite the pervading dystopian mood, Winston Smith, the main character, tracks a thread of hope; but until you know where this thread will lead, you will be fascinated by the smooth suspense flowing from one page to the other until you reach an end that is nothing less than an intriguing twist. Another similar dystopic account of the modern world is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale that has its protagonist a female rather than a male, yet it shares the same themes of oppression, manipulation, control, fear and so on. Both titles are a must read and a resourceful material to reflect on our present world and the political dynamics at work. The second book is related to leadership and written by a renowned author known for his wisdom and vision.

The Wisdom and Teachings of Stephen R. Covey is a collection of Covey’s memorable and important teachings pertaining to courage, choice, contribution, leadership, love, potential, empathy, self-discipline, truth and so on. For instance, Covey’s wisdom conveys that leadership is never individual but collective, it caters for the leader himself and the people whom he leads. A successful leader is the one who ensures that all parties are winners, and that winning is never achieved at the expense of any party. For Covey, this does not only apply in professional environments, it is rather a wisdom we must employ with our families, friends, society, and anyone whom we communicate and interact with; as any success we may achieve, personal or professional, we must first and foremost cater for the feelings of the people involved. The book includes meaningful elaborations on different other aspects of our lives, thus one will definitely not regret the time they spend reading it.

Another thought provoking book is about Artificial Intelligence, AI, and is titled What to Think About Machines That Think. The book is a cluster of mind blowing articles by scientists, journalists, authors, psychologists, neurologists, philosophers, artists and several more intellectuals expressing their different perspectives on AI and the future of humans in the wake of such unprecedented progress in the world of robotics and machines. The book presents a rich account of contradicting views on AI. For instance, some consider that machines will never reach or evolve into independent thinkers as they will always lack two vital components of thinking which are communication and interaction. Thus, they won’t be able to analyze the data they have to generate new knowledge to evolve into thinking machines. Gerald Smallberg considers that machines will always lack emotions and feelings, which are necessary for evolution and natural selection, thus their “simplistic” thinking will always remain primitive compared to the sophisticated thinking of humans. On the other hand, Tania Lombrozo considers that our standard for thinking differs from that of machines, thus we should change the way we perceive thinking itself and attribute to machines a different kind of thinking. Explore the countless other inspiring views shared by great forward-thinking minds in this book that will keep you hooked until you reach the last page.

Reading is a never-ending process of learning and a great source of knowledge. Through reading we also understand that there is so much in the world to know that our modest minds can never fully grasp. Thus, books shatter our pride and stimulate our intellect compelling us to flip another page, read another chapter, and venture into the next title. I will end with two enlightening quotes. The first by Vera Nazarian saying “Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” The second is by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it goes “some books leave us free and some books make us free.” Never stop reading and enjoy every page!