I love to learn, but I, alas, need a bit of entertainment along the way. diatribe, argument, and philosophical discussion can quickly drown me, whereas metaphor, a titch of light-heartedness, allegory, and surprises work to keep me engaged and sometimes even engrossed. the following books kept me hooked while not only educating me, but also creating a sense that I would enjoy coffee or dinner with their authors. (watching elizabeth kolbert on the daily show with jon stewart affirmed that sense.) if you haven’t read these, I recommend you do. kolbert’s book is especially relevant in our changing world ~  start there.

the sixth extinction, elizabeth kolbert.  kolbert hopes that readers will “come away with an appreciation of the truly extraordinary moment in which we live;” I can’t imagine the reader who wouldn’t.

the social animal: the hidden sources of love, character, and achievement, david brooks.  how our unconscious mind guides us… both fascinating and enlightening, and filled with story, allegory, and eye-opening fact.

quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, susan cain.  I can’t help but like a book about people like me.

the swerve: how the world became modern, stephen greenblatt.  a story about lucretius’s “on the nature of things” and how its discovery, centuries after being written, had a revolutionary affect on great thinkers, artists, and scientists.

a brief history of everything, bill bryson.  “how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us.” like kolbert, bryson is gifted with the ability to clarify scientific complexities for those of us unfamiliar with that realm.


as I stated, I love to learn: please share your list!