Jane Austen said 'The person who has not taken pleasure in a book must be intolerably stupid' and boy are we surrounded by many people who have obviously never taken pleasure in a book apart from ones that comes with crayons but not to despair because neuroscientist Sam Harris has developed a list of 12 books that everyone should read to make them smarter.
1. The history of Western philosophy, Bertrand Russell
2. Reasons and persons, Derek Parfit
3. The Last Word, Thomas Nagal
4. The Holy Koran
5. Superintelligence, Nick Bostrom
6. Humiliation: And Other Essays on Honour, Social Discomfort and Violence, William Ian Miller
7. The Flight of the Garuda: The Dzogchen Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, Keith Dowman
8. I am that, Nisargadatta Maharaj
9. Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
10. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
11. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom
12. Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak, Jean Hatzfeld
Quite a heavy, and dare i say boring, looking list there but nobody said being smart was easy but for people who don't find reading books a joy at the best of times they would be quite a slog to work through and i'm not sure how the Holy Koran even got in there.
I think to bring those with an aversion to reading literature into the fold you need to hand them something that would hold their attention and slip things in under the radar so they don't get a chance to say 'hang on, me is learning, what the...' and throw down the book and watch Ice Road Truckers instead.
My 12, in no particular order would include:
1. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
2. Animal Farm, George Orwell
3. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
4. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
5. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
6. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
7. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, Richard Carlson
8. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
9. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann
10 Hearts in Atlantis Stephen King
11 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Philip K. Dick.
12 Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Make your way through them and i refuse to believe that you will not put down the 12th book a better, smarter and more rounded person than when you picked up the very first one.