Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What books inspired your thinking in 2007?

Here are some of the books that I read in 2007 that inspired thoughts and new ideas:

Alister McGrath – The Twilight of Atheism
A fascinating historical account of modern day unbelief.

Antjie Krog – County of My Skull
A journalist’s experiences while covering South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged
A fictional story of the collapse of society and the beginning of the next Dark Ages, written by the founder of Objectivism.

Bill Bryson – A Short History of Nearly Everything
A fun account of the entire history of the universe, including tales of the strange and eccentric men and woman who contributed to scientific discovery.

Danny Wallace – Join Me
The hilarious true story of a British man’s endeavour to get people to join him. Join him for what? No reason at all.

Hugh Ross – The Creator and the Cosmos
A fascinating account of old earth creationism

Jack Bowen – The Dream Weaver
A Sophie’s World kind of story about a boy who travels on a journey of philosophical discovery.

Julian Baggini – Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
I recommend this anyone who wants to know what atheists believe. Very concise and non-confrontational.

Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale
A dystopian novel set in the USA sometime in the future, where woman have lost all their rights.

Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
A wonderful fictional story about an gifted, but autistic, boy who recounts his attempt to solve the murder of a neighbour’s dog.

Richard Carrier – Sense and Goodness without God
A philosophical defense of metaphysical naturalism

Richard Dawkins – Climbing Mount Improbable
Richard Dawkins is at his best when he is not writing about religion. This book provides a fascinating view of evolution, and it is here where Dawkins describes his 'Climbing Mount Improbable' take on natural selection. His love for biology oozes out the text and, for me at least, invigorated my own sense of wonder of nature.

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion
It's a pity that this is Dawkins' most popularised work. He has written better. An overview of atheistic thought, although many atheists might not fully subscribe to Dawkin’s conflict narrative concerning science and religion.

Steven Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner – Freakonomics
Does abortion reduce violent crime? Does the method of parenting really make a difference to a child? These, and many other interesting questions, are tackled by an eccentric economist who uses data mining techniques to find interesting patterns in society and culture.

Tom Clark – Encountering Naturalism
A brief overview of metaphysical naturalism

Victor Stenger – God: The Failed Hypothesis.
An argument against Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA principle. Stenger argues that science does have something to say about the existence or non-existence of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, and concludes that the evidence for such a god is left wanting.

What books did you read in 2007 that inspired your thinking?


CyberKitten said...

That's an impressive list.

Of the 60 or so books I managed to read in 2007 I can't think of any in particular that 'inspired' me... but then I do mainly read SF [laughs]. I did read quite a few that made me think and even more that entertained me though.

Expensive Mistakes and Cheap Thrills said...

I also read Join Me...

It inspired me to start my own collective!!

And I'd like you to Join Me -
at the South African Bloggers Network - http://sabloggers.ning.com

it's still new, still recruiting, but sign up so we can all hook up!

Participation not imitation said...

Have you heard of Tim Keller's new book "The Reason for God?" I hear it is an interesting take on why belief in God is necessary.

Jayamashey said...

Looking at the otherside I enjoyed a book by a Canadian author:

The End of Religion, by Bruxy Cavey (on Amazon)

It takes a look at Christianity from a 'non-religeous' prespective and challenges traditional church views.

The author did a series that I listened to called 'the God Debate' (on Itunes or themeetinghouse.ca) where he looked at the evidences for/against God and the writings of Dawkins and McGrath. I found that interesting and parts of it convincing. It appeared geared toward atheists.

Lui said...

Victor Stenger's "Not by design", Stephen Jay Gould's "Bully for Brontosaurus" (a lovely collection of essays by the late and great American palaeontologist), Simon Singh's "Big Bang" (which made me appreciate not just the beauty and wonder of the universe as revealed by science, but also the process that leads to this expanded view, and how science doesn't necessarily progress in accordance to an idealised caricature of smooth change but often through sudden paradigm shits), and Michael Shermer's "Why People Believe Weird Things" (the chapter on Holocaust denial was especially instructive).

Lui said...

And also Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation" (a critique of religious irrationality and the grip it holds over the psyche of all too many people, often with tragic consequences).

CyberKitten said...

lui said: sudden paradigm shits

I blame spicy food..... [grin]

Christoff said...

Paleontologist Robert Winston's "Human Instinct"

Anonymous said...

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

His conciliatory views on Faith and Reason softened my personal stance somewhat.

Before the Mayflower by Lerone Bennett Jr

Interesting insight on America from a Black perspective.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I did read Harris' The End of Faith.

It was inspiring in that I learned a lot about the errors of the church throughout history, like the hand of RC church in the holocaust and a lot about the witch trials and burnings.

But Harris was a new atheist when he wrote that book, and on top of that, he is a typical American. So my criticism of the book is about his convoluted, clinical, scholar-like writing and his views of the American role in worldwide affairs. He, for example, suggests that Muslim territories need to be occupied in order to de-program the people from the religion.

But I do like a lot of his points, though--in spite of needing a dictionary sometimes so I could follow the difficult-to-read writing.

Duke said...

Peace be with the moderator, as well as all the readers of this message.(that is if it is not censored)
The time has come.
I am here to bring judgment to the living and the dead. The harvest is ripe.
Use the believers information network website to spread the news.

The Faithful Witness

school for the girls said...

I am inspired by your blog, I also read a lot.

Last year I read brother and sister by Johanna Trollope.

The bible,

Merchant of venice by William shakespear,an old book

Memoirs of a geisha I just forgot the writter

And other local novels from Kenya like coming to birth by Marjorie Oludhe Mcgoye.

I think those were enough for last year and I hope to read more and more, to encourage the girls who belong to my blog so that they can widen their minds and read more.