Tag: neil degrasse tyson


These Are the 5 Most Wished for Books of 2017

In addition to announcing the most read books of 2017, Amazon has satisfied our literary curiosities by announcing which books customers frequently added on their ‘Wish List’ this past year. From what we’ve gathered, 2017 has been a year of scientific and cultural curiosity, as (by the titles listed below) readers have shown a particular interest in books that dive into both nonfictional and fictional discussions of identity.


Who are we? Where have we come from? Where the fuck is our future headed? While these questions are certainly nothing new, I can’t help but wonder to what extent the political, social, and historical highlights of 2017 have shaped our reading interests. Anywho, check out the five most wished for books of 2017.


1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson



Image Via Amazon


From the publisher:


“In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.


Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. 


There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.” – H.C.


2. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance



Image Via Amazon

From the publisher:


“From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class.


Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.


The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.


But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.


A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.” – H.C.


3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood



Image Via Amazon

From Amazon:


“The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.” – Amazon


4. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson



Image Via Amazon

From the publisher:


“The #1 New York Times Bestseller: The essential universe, from our most celebrated and beloved astrophysicist.


What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.


But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.


While you wait for your morning coffee to brew, for the bus, the train, or a plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.” – W.W.N.C.


5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari



Image Via Amazon

From the publisher:


“From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”


One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?


Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.


Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?


Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.” – H.C.



Featured Image Via Shutterstock / Thomas Bethge

Neil deGrasse Tyson

The 8 Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read, According to Neil deGrasse Tyson

In a reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) a few years ago, arch nemesis of Pluto, Neil deGrasse Tyson answered the question, “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet?” Thank you, ElCracker, for question.


Tyson’s answer ambitiously tries to track the development of Western thought. He describes his list as follows: “If you read all of the above works, you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the Western world.” Are you ready to glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the Western world? Or do you just want to see what the science guy likes to read? Either way, here are the books Tyson wants every intelligent person on planet to read, along with notes on why they’re on the list. All words are Tyson’s.


1. The Bible


to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself


2. The System of the World by Isaac Newton


to learn that the universe is a knowable place


3. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin


to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth


4. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift


to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos


5. The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine


to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world


6. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith


to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself


7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu


to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art


8. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli


to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it


Well, I have not read a single one of those. I guess I am not an intelligent person on planet, so I am very sorry for wasting your time.



In reality, though, this is a spirited list of recommendations. Thought clearly went into it, which is good since people tend to trust the things Neil deGrasse Tyson says. Even if he does ruin every cool sci-fi movie ever.


Side note, Bookstr’s own Sarah Hill got to chat with Tyson on BoldTV! Check out their discussion here.


Feature Image Via Return of Kings