3 Books to Stretch Your Mind And Make You Introspect

I’ve read and re-read these books multiple times for how impactful they are.

3 Books to Stretch Your Mind And Make You Introspect
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I’ve read and re-read these books multiple times for how impactful they are.

The biggest perk of being a book lover is the rich and varied multitude of lives you get to live through the written word.

In fact, the power of books is such that they can change your life.

In this post, I’ve put together three books that compel you to think beyond your limits of imagination and explore the realm of personal development through a new lens. And no, these aren’t self-help books. Trust me, I’m no fan of the genre.

Rather, these books are deep dives into the human psyche and how simple daily habits can impact our personality and shape our future.

If you’re on the lookout for thought-provoking books that can alter the trajectory of your life, then this article is for you. Read on for some truly underrated and incredibly powerful gems.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness by Philip Goff

Image: Goodreads

I got some interesting concepts to ponder upon. Like how all of the physical world can be expressed in equations but mathematics fails when it comes to describing any detail of the spiritual or emotional worlds.

Galileo, the father of modern science, had left out the emotional and spiritual worlds when he derived his set of equations, saying the reaction depended on the perceiver, and hence, would be different for everyone. But some things remain constant despite the perceiver, and Galileo’s science fails when it needs to describe how red a tomato is, or how sweet the ice cream that you had last night was.

In this book, the author introduces us to three schools of thought that seek to rectify this error of Galileo’s.

One of them is panpsychism, a theory that posits that consciousness is not confined to biological entities but is a fundamental feature of all physical matter — from subatomic particles to the human brain. In Galileo’s Error, the author has provided the first step on a new path to the final theory of human consciousness.

“If Galileo traveled in time to the present day to hear that we are having difficulty giving a physical explanation of consciousness, he would most likely respond, “Of course you are, I designed physical science to deal with quantities not qualities!”
― Philip Goff, Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness

The book makes for a fascinating read, full of new concepts to ponder upon.

Galileo’s Error is not an easy beach read. This is a book you read with a marker and highlighters, taking meticulous notes to grasp the scope of what it talks about. I would definitely recommend it to philosophy nerds and people on the lookout for a new way to perceive the world around them.

Get yourself a copy here.

2. Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by B.J. Fogg

Image: Goodreads

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg is the book that explains building any new habit is a combination of the three:

  • Motivation, or your desire to execute the behavior.
  • Ability, i.e. your capacity to execute the behavior.
  • Prompt, or your cue to execute the behavior.

According to the author (who is also the founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University), you can build any new habit (or break out of an old one) into your life when motivation, ability, and a prompt converge simultaneously.

This got me thinking about all the times I’d planned to start a new habit, a new routine, but failed. Most often, the reason I failed was that I tried to do too much in too little time.

I wanted to lead a healthy life, so I aimed to eat only home-cooked meals every day.

I wanted to build a writing habit, so I aimed to write 2000 words every day.

After the first few days, my motivation ran dry. I found it harder and harder to stick to these new habits. Before long, I could barely continue and started blaming myself for having such a weak will.

Reading this book made me realize that it was;t my willpower that was the problem. I was relying on motivation alone, and sadly, motivation never lasts. The key to making lasting changes in life is to start small.

Pick a habit that

  • you do at least once a day,
  • takes you less than 30 seconds to complete, and
  • requires little effort.

Keep repeating this and slowly increase the dosage. You’ll be all set to successfully build a brand new habit.

And so, here’s what I did:

To start leading a healthy life, I had one glass of water every morning.

To build a writing habit, I pledged to write one Tweet a day.

These are micro-habits that barely demand five minutes of my time. Probably, that’s what makes it harder to say no to them.

I started with these two simple habits and kept increasing the dosage. Today, I can write 3–4 articles each day without breaking a sweat. I’ve stopped stocking my fridge with junk food and only have homemade meals. And the best part — I am so used to doing these, that they don’t feel like work.

“There are only three things we can do that will create lasting change: Have an epiphany, change our environment, or change our habits in tiny ways.”
― B.J. Fogg, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

If you’re trying to build a new habit, I’d strongly suggest you read Tiny Habits. It’s an incredible book with actionable takeaways that can change your life.

Get yourself a copy here.

3. The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual by Ward Farnsworth

Image: Goodreads

This book lays out the history and philosophy of some of the most accomplished Stoics like Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Cicero, and others in an absolutely clear and accessible way, without compromising on the complexity.

It’s arranged into chapters based on topics, like “Perspective”, “Desire”, “Adversity”, “Death” etc., with gems of wisdom from Stoic writers on those subjects accompanied by expert commentary and context.

“The first principle of practical Stoicism is this: we don’t react to events; we react to our judgments about them, and the judgments are up to us.”
 — Ward Farnsworth, The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User’s Manual

I believe every person should read this book twice. The first time you’ll highlight all the important parts that resonate with you. And the next time, you’ll come back to absorb all the wisdom and find ways to incorporate them in your life.

This is an excellent book both for those looking for a good introduction to Stoicism and for academics who want to refer to a useful guide to a challenging philosophical system. It can be your companion in both good and bad times and a constant reminder of the importance of things.

Get yourself a copy here.

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