College is an exciting (and sometimes terrifying!) transition into adulthood. It’s also a period where you are immersed in new ideas and concepts, learning about new perspectives, and challenging assumptions and beliefs. If you’re heading off to college soon, why not jumpstart your education with these ten books that will expand your horizons and give you a new perspective on society? No matter what your major is (or if you’re still undecided), these books on history, society, culture, science, literature, current events, and practical how-to guides will help prepare you for the exciting journey ahead!
Based on Bregman's 2014 TED Talk, this book dares to ask if it is possible to live in a world where poverty was eliminated, borders were opened, and a universal income was implemented for all. While these ideas may seem radical, Bregman makes the argument that all major social change was once considered radical, and just maybe this too can become reality.
For an engaging nonfiction read that sheds some light on history and encourages an interest in STEM, this book about the women responsible for launching a man into space is a must-read! Holt looks at the history of their amazing breakthroughs, and how their mathematical and career achievements paved the way for women in math and science.
If you didn't read it in high school, chances are it'll be assigned in college! The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is regarded as one of the great classics of American literature, but why? NPR book critic Maureen Corrigan takes a look at the book's themes and often overlooked deeper meaning. She also looks at how the book has been received over the years, and how it received its perennial place on assigned reading lists.
Why do we eat some animals and not others? Is vegetarianism really that much better for the world? Foer tackles these questions and much more in this book that looks into the history of eating habits across cultures, and how what we eat has shaped society. It's as much about farming and the food we eat as it is about the moral implications behind why we eat what we do.
by Luba Vikhanski
Many of us have probably heard the old saying "men are from Mars, women are from Venus." The idea that men and women are fundamentally different is one that's difficult to shake, but in this book, neurologist Daphna Joel draws upon her own research to debunk that idea once and for all. She puts forward that brains have aspects that are feminine and masculine, but everyone's brain is made up of a mosaic of these features. Her book will challenge how you think about men, women, and gender roles!
What makes a good society? For all of humanity's downsides, we are innately driven to form communities wherever we go thanks to an inclination towards kindness, cooperation, and learning from each other. Christakis examines this evolutionary nature to form societies by looking at communities across cultures, throughout history, and even those formed in online spaces.
by Harold Evans
No one can escape freshman composition, but you can get a leg up in class with this book! Harold Evans is a veteran editor who has worked for decades across mediums, and here he addresses how to write succinctly and with clarity. In a time where digital media has given way to more content produced and shared more quickly than ever, Evans explains why taking the time to clarify and streamline your writing is important.
Writing advice is plentiful, and sometimes confusing! Thankfully, Clark has taken some of the best and most repeated writing advice throughout the centuries and contextualizes it with a deeper look at the lessons they impart, with examples and practical applications. This is a great book for someone nervous about heading into freshman comp because it's arranged in easy-to-digest chapters that will help you build upon your skills.
What essential books would you recommend to college freshmen?
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Tirzah Price is a writer and contributing editor at Book Riot. Follow her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.