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Five Great Nonfiction Books to Make You Think (About How We Think)

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I was talking to another Amazon editor today about the February Best Books of the Month list, when he said to me, "You know, that book really made me think." That got me thinking about other books that have made me think.

Here's a short list:

    1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This book will almost come as a relief to half the population (and maybe a larger percentage of readers). It's about the importance of introverts, exploring the value of the careful listeners and reflective thinkers in a world that seems full of extroverts.

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2. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Written by a Nobel laureate, this book has skyrocketed in popularity, and for good reason. Kahneman introduces a fascinating view of the mind-- that's it's actually more like two minds, one quick and intuitive, the other more deliberative and logical. It will definitely change how you think about thinking.

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3. The LEGO Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz. Most of us grew up with Legos. Most of us had our go-to designs: ships, castles, cars, dinosaurs... you name it. This book is filled with ideas, new and old. It's like taking a journey through your own younger mind, only with pictures. And if you have children of your own, oh, how it will make them think.

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4. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney. Did you know that research shows we spend, on average, four hours a day resisting temptation? That fact alone should tell you how important willpower is (but I doubt you need me to tell you). There's much to learn in this book. And it will definitely make you think. It may even affect how you think.

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5. Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Roy Geoff Colvin. Something about the title of this book initially turned me off. It sounded like an excuse: Don't worry, you don't actually have to be good at something to do well at it. But then I ran into the article that spawned the book, and my opinion changed. This is an inspiring book about what it takes to be really, really good at something.

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In case you were wondering, the book that other Amazon editor and I were talking about was The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--and the Coming Cashless Society by David Wolman. As I mentioned, it's one of our Best Books of the February. And that other editor was right-- it will make you think.

What books would you add to the list?

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