Recommended Smart Thinking Books

I love reading and can spend hours staring at the spines of books in the Smart Thinking section in Waterstones (B&N equivalent). Because of this love of books I’ve read a fair number of books and below are the ones that I recommend the most. If you want a quick overview of what you’ll learn in each book, I’ve written quick summaries of some of them here.

Cognition and Thinking:


Thinking Fast and Slow
The Organized Mind


The Power of Habit
The Marshmallow Test Understanding Self-control and How To Master It


The Brain:


The Human Brain Coloring Book
The Brain That Changes Itself Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science
The Brain The Story of You


We Are Our Brains From the Womb to Alzheimer's
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Mind Change How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains

Memory and Learning:


The Memory Palace - Learn Anything and Everything
A Mind For Numbers - How to Excel at Math and Science
Moonwalking with Einstein - The Art and Science of Remembering Everything


Become a SuperLearner Learn Speed Reading & Advanced Memorization
The Art of Learning An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance
The Overflowing Brain Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory

Human Behaviour:


Human Lie Detection


Watching the English
What Every Body Is Saying
The Spirit Level - Why Equality is Better for Everyone


Thinking Tools:

Lateral Thinking - An Introduction
Smart Thinking - How to Think Big, Innovate and Outperform Your Rivals
Lateral Thinking - A Textbook of Creativity


One Plus One Equals Three A Masterclass in Creative Thinking
The Art of Creative Thinking
Think Like Da Vinci - 7 Easy Steps to Boosting Your Everyday Genius


The Chimp Paradox - The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness
Mindware - Tools for Smart Thinking
The Six Thinking Hats


Strategic Thinking:

Good Strategy - Bad Strategy The difference and why it matters
Predatory Thinking - A masterclass in out-thinking the competition
The 48 Laws Of Power
Strategy A History
The 33 Strategies Of War
Exploring Strategy Text & Cases


Popular Science:

Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind
Human Universe
The Selfish Gene

Economics / Statistics:


Freakonomics - A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
The Black Swan - The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Bad Science

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these are my favourite “smart thinking” books, they mostly focus on the brain and on human behaviour and decision-making. There are a few less related books I’ve left off of this list that have massively impact my views on the world e.g. The God Delusion, The 4-Hour ChefOffice Politics and The 4-Hour Work Week.