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Best open minding books

I´m trying to make a list, with the best open minding
books, videos, etc
They could talk about philosophy, theology, buddhism, economic theories, psychology, sociology, biology, transhumanism, everything you think could open, or opened your points of view, changed your life in some way.
Then, we could make a debate about some of them ideas if some of you want,
I think it could be worth a while.

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    May 16 2011: I think Animal Farm (by George Orwell) should be one of the essentials
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      May 16 2011: An absolute must read!
    • May 20 2011: All books are equal, but some books are more equal than others. Very good choice....still enticing!
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    May 15 2011: 1) To kill a Mocking Bird
    2) Grapes of Wrath
    3) Freakenomics
    4) Trinity by Leon Uris
    5) anytning that is written by Stephen Pinker
    6) Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
    • May 16 2011: Thanks!!!
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      May 16 2011: Though I don't always see eye to eye with Pinker, he totally rocks my socks! He is not a researcher, and is a linguist by training, some of the studies he referenced in The Blank Slate The Modern Denial Of Human Nature are just flat out BS, the twin studies which he heavily relied on as supporting evidence were proven to be falsified I believe. But he is still a personal hero of mine for his virtue in elegantly combining a foundation in humanities with scientific inquiry. And he's just so dreamy:) hahahaha
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        May 16 2011: That's adorable! Is it his curly hair?
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          May 17 2011: Mais oui! And those eyes, oh my zods, one could get lost in those little pools. xaxaxaxaxaxa
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    May 16 2011: War of Art for artists
    Art of War for economists

    Read one of them and get to work! :)
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    May 16 2011: The Celestine Prophecy in its perspective of energy exchange through communication.
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      May 17 2011: I read the first one and it was mind blowing at the time, but I don't think I would get as much out of those books anymore, I remember loving how he incorporated psychological attention theory to energy and interaction, but once I became a little more familiar with psychology, those books just lost their pull for me.
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    May 16 2011: 1 The Human Zoo -Desmond Morris
    2 Understanding Media - Marshal Mcluhan
    3 Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan
    4 Life Inc - Douglas Rushkoff
    5 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
    6-10 Hitch Hiker Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams ( I'm icluding the whole trilogy )
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      May 20 2011: Hithhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is great (first one). Why should one read the second or third?
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    May 16 2011: MOVIES:
    Waking life
    Enter the void
    into the wild
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      May 16 2011: All great films, and Into the Wild was a great book as well, one of the few that have ever made me cry
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    May 16 2011: Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.
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      May 16 2011: YES! and The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi)
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        May 17 2011: Magister Ludi I read long ago. Never was quite sure what it was about. Please tell me.
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          May 17 2011: It has been many many moons since I read it as well. Hesse's works were my first real introduction to serious reading. I don't know if I could do a summation justice as it has been around 11 years since I read it (and with the limited perspective of a 15 year old). Magister Ludi was Hesse's magnum opus, which earned him a Nobel prize. The book follows the life of Joseph Knecht. Who was adopted into an order of intellectuals as a prodigy and inducted into a life of academic aestheticism. The work narrates his experiences, education, and eventual rise to become Master Of Games. While many of Hesse's works use a sort of strict dualism such as that of Narcissus and Goldman, Magister Ludi was an illusive and almost subdued novel whose depth is beyond explanation in 2000 characters or less. Some of the overarching themes are those typical types of narrating an individual's evolution and the "process" of living. The various crossroads of Knecht's life compare things like the resigned life of piety to that of a life in the "real world" but rather than spiritual hermit-ism it is primarily Intellectual intellectual in nature. Think of a monastery for academia.
          At the time that I read it, I equated it to sort of a spin off of Siddhartha from a westernized perspective, I doubt that was Hesse's Intention, but I think there are many commonalities between the two stories worth considering. Hesse often alluded to games or illusions in his works, Steppenwolf for example or Demien, all displaying a certain level of mysticism which his work acquired in his second period after his "journey to the east". The Glass Bead Game had as large an impact on my life as Siddhartha. I think its time a gave it another read with my matured perspective.
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        May 17 2011: Thanks Meher. I'll have to give it a re-read one of these days too.
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    May 16 2011: The one book that comes to mind that changed my life when I was a teenager was IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. It was the first time I really experienced the world at large (I had a sheltered childhood living up in northern Minnesota).
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    May 23 2011: I find science fiction useful for prying minds open. Two thought-provoking short stories have shaped my perspective on things known and unknown.

    One is "The Country of the Blind" by H.G. Wells. In it, he provides an eloquent refutation of a quote of Erasmus: 'In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.'

    The other is "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov. It also begins with a quote, this from Emerson: 'If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown!' The world that Asimov creates to illuminate the question takes civilization to the brink of madness.
    • May 24 2011: Tom I think science fiction and the two authors you mention, did that for me as a teenager. Their works were a springboard for my imagination.
  • May 20 2011: I just added an addendum to my list, a theological work that I believe meets the criteria that Luis was searching for. So far, it is I think the only true theological work noted. See my post with my list on it.
    • May 20 2011: Thanks! I´ve reading about this book in Amazon, and has controversial critics, but sounds very interesting!
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    May 18 2011: La vida es sueño (Life is a dream) by Pedro Calderón De La Barca.
    This book shows us how complex can be our lives.
    I think it's one of the best books ever written in spanish.
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    May 18 2011: Try "Helter Skelter" if you want your pants knocked off.
    • May 18 2011: The song, the movie, or what?
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        May 18 2011: Luiz.........................The book............Man I had to stop reading it. So scary
        • May 19 2011: hahah, ok! Another in the same style? I want to read some fiction, but I know this story, It won´t be as scary as something unexpected.
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    May 18 2011: Illusions by Richard Bach was a pivotal book in my youth.
  • May 17 2011: This is a great topic. Here are some of mine. I would like to comment on them only after others have wondered "why that one." Paz: El Laberinto de la SoledadKuhn: The Structure of Scientific RevolutionsKaufman: At Home in The UniverseGleik: Chaos: Making a New ScienceI tried to think of a purely theological work, but frankly I am not sure I have read one in years, that it truly mind-opening.Addendum: After a lot of thought I have decided on one theological work I think everyone, Christian or not should read. It is N.T. Wright's "Simply Christian". I believe he gets to the heart of the matter of explaining Christianity and why it can answer contemporary man's questions.
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      May 18 2011: I'd appreciate a few brief remarks about your choices if you wouldn't mind, I'm not familiar with any of them.
      • May 18 2011: Meher
        These are ver personal choices, they have deeply affected me and my own thinking.
        Laberinto: Octavio Paz, the great Mexican author wrote this book on Mexican Culture in the late 40’s. In spite of the fact many circumstantial things have changed about Mexican culture, and some of the comments are definitely about Mexican culture as it was then, I believe many of his insights are very valid. This book helped start me on the road to understanding other cultures.
        Scientific Revolutions: This is the book that introduced the term “paradigm” and “paradigm shift” into modern conversation. Forget all about any popularizations of those terms you may have read and read what Kuhn says about change, progress, revolution and really what we call worldview. This book changed the way I see movement in history, science, and cultures.
        Home in the Universe: Stuart Kaufman was a long time fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and writes about non-linear dynamics. While I don’t do the math, his understanding of how things work in the biosphere, in real life and even the Universe are terrific. Non-linear dynamics becomes very interesting. Living life on the edge, like surfing a wave says Kaufman, is how change takes place.
        Chaos: A lot of books have been written about chaos theory, networks and non-linear systems. This book helped to start the whole discussion. If you want a real introduction into the science of non-linear systems, it is still a great place to start. Non-linear dynamics in general taught me to see the power of surprise and change; and the beauty of chaotic order and ordered chaos.
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          May 18 2011: Thanks for the great response! I will def check some of these out. I am very interested in systems theory and love science history. I also think that being acquainted with the founders of ideas is necessary for understanding how ideas have evolved. Those all sound like good books and I am intrigued enough to go read some of them. Thanks again!
        • May 19 2011: Hey! Watch BBC, secret life of chaos if you haven´t, it´s amazing.
      • May 19 2011: Luis I will certainly look for it. Thanks. Meher: Kuhn is a great place to start. Look for an edition that his "Pos-data" in it. Mind bending books have to change the way we see the world. It has to have that aha moment in it.
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    May 16 2011: The Marx-Engels reader should be required. I'm not saying one must buy into it, but it is more than worth glancing at.
    • May 17 2011: I´ve lots of friends studying economics, I don´t understand how they don´t have these reads in the career,
      almost no history, no comparison between production systems, but a lot of technicism and maths.
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        May 17 2011: Yeah, its pretty strange that only English and Lit majors really study that stuff anymore, I don't know anyone that has actually read the foundations of economic theory, people don't even read Adam Smith, for cheezus sake, but have no problem pretending that they understand what capitalism, communism, and socialism is about? It bothers me so much that people think they have well formed opinions on this stuff but have absolutely no experience with any of the actual concepts. I think that Marx is still considered to have one of the most thorough analysis of capitalism (at least thats what my instructor told me;) hahahaha
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    May 16 2011: Plato's Diologues, and specifically the Republic.
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    May 16 2011: I have yet to start my summer reading but I am taking a few from the following website:

    This website has A LOT of books in response to your debate.
    (I can't help the link has a bad word!)

    And this website links you to a TON of free ebooks.

    I never read a book that blew my mind more than I have questioning reality. I find I learned more from fiction (especially science fiction) than non-fiction. I think we should have a sci-fi class just as much a history class! Most of my reading are articles, journals, researches, and/or series of all three. Books are for bathroom, bedtime, and travel time lol.

    If I had to pick the book that blew my mind the most was 1984, but not because of the story but because the "fictions" became a reality in many parts of the world, including America. We are ruled by fear.

    I hope those links help anyone! The second one is really extensive but great!
    • May 17 2011: Hahaha, I´ve taken some of the list "Books that will induce a mindfuck", very original name and books.
      What happens with good fiction writers, is that they say more about reality than non-fiction ones.
      1984 is a must read for everyone, and Asimov´s stories are incredible, he shouted out all his ideas of the future there, and no doubt, he is one ot fhe best and most intelligent writers of all time.
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    May 16 2011: How is one supposed to narrow this list? everything I've ever read feels like required reading.
    • May 16 2011: As you can select your best clothes when you go on holidays, you could select your books. If you think you should take them all, name them! No limits here, but surely you prefer some of them.
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        May 16 2011: Hahahaha, the cloths analogy doesn't quite work for me, I don't own more than I can carry. But yes I do prefer some to others.