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Books That Offer Wisdom

Books That Offer Wisdom

By James Clear

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About the list

This is a list of the 10 books that perhaps offer the most page-for-page wisdom. These books will make you smarter. They offer wisdom that has stood the test of time, provide ideas for managing the complexities and challenges of life, and foster a greater understanding of our world.

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The Lessons of History

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1968 | Will Durant, Ariel Durant

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Will Durant once wrote that "most history is guessing, & the rest is prejudice." Now, 33 years later, the Durants, in this peroration to their monumental "Story of Civilization," look back to record the lessons & conclusions of their 10-volume excursion into human folly & achievement--&, coincidentally, to determine what value historical guesswork & historians' predispositions may have in understanding the nature of humanity. Their reflections are thematic in nature, discussing the influence & effect upon history of certain qualities, institutions & movements: race, character, moral systems, religion, socialism, government, war etc. Their overall conclusion is at once optimistic & realistic; the phenomenon of progress is no figment of the historian's imagination; it's real, in the sense that each generation is born to a heritage richer than that received by their fathers. Thus, the 20th century is the most blessed of all eras so far, from a cultural standpoint, for it has assimilated the best of the Periclean Greeks, of the Renaissance, of the Voltairian age etc. The Durants' "Story" is, despite the cavils of a few disputatious historians, the historical synthesis par excellence for the intelligent nonspecialist. The Lessons of History, despite its extreme brevity, forms an integrally necessary part of that opus & must be read as such, or as an independent work in the tradition of Augustine's Retractationes & Toynbee's Reconsiderations.--Kirkus (edited)

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Sapiens

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2015 | Yuval Noah Harari

Rated by 508 people

New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg 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.

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Principles

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2018 | Ray Dalio

Rated by 41 people

#1 New York Times Bestseller “Significant...The book is both instructive and surprisingly moving.” —The New York Times Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals. In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater’s exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as “an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency.” It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio—who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood—that he believes are the reason behind his success. In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses, and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve. Here, from a man who has been called both “the Steve Jobs of investing” and “the philosopher king of the financial universe” (CIO magazine), is a rare opportunity to gain proven advice unlike anything you’ll find in the conventional business press.

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Meditations

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2006 | Emperor of Rome Marcus Aurelius,Marco Aurelio (Emperador de Roma),Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Rated by 17 people

A leading translation of Stoic philosophy in wise and practical aphorisms that have inspired Bill Clinton, Ryan Holiday, Anna Kendrick and many more. Written in Greek by an intellectual Roman emperor without any intention of publication, the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offer a wide range of fascinating spiritual reflections and exercises developed as the leader struggled to understand himself and make sense of the universe. Spanning from doubt and despair to conviction and exaltation, they cover such diverse topics as the question of virtue, human rationality, the nature of the gods and the values of leadership. But while the Meditations were composed to provide personal consolation, in developing his beliefs Marcus also created one of the greatest of all works of philosophy: a series of wise and practical aphorisms that have been consulted and admired by statesmen, thinkers and ordinary readers for almost two thousand years. To provide a full understanding of Aurelius's seminal work, this edition includes explanatory notes, a general index, an index of quotations, an index of names, and an introduction by Diskin Clay putting the work in its biographical, historical, and literary context, a chronology of Marcus Aurelius's life and career. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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