1. Learn how to read intelligently.
How To Read A Book: The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Once you read it: You’ll never again completely forget the plot of a book you read.
2. Learn how to get things done.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Once you’ll read it: You will be way more productive – because your tasks will be prioritized, your work day will have much-needed structure, and you’ll be able to ignore unnecessary disruptions.
3. Learn how to cook.
How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
Once you read it: You’ll be able to cook everything – and creatively, not just by reading recipes.
4. Learn how to make your house a home.
Home Comforts: The Art & Science Of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson
Once you read it: You’ll know how to fold a fitted sheet!!
5. Learn how to write clearly and concisely.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
Once you read it: You’ll finally know how to use a semicolon.
6. Learn how to draw.
Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain by Betty Edwards
Once you read it: You’ll remember why you loved to draw as a child and forget why you stopped as an adult.
7. Learn how to make people say yes and how to say no.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
Once you read it: You’ll understand exactly how advertisers and salespeople convince you to buy things, and then teach you how to use those techniques yourself – hopefully for good.
8. Learn what public school didn’t teach you about American history.
Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
Once you read it: You’ll start seeing U.S. history in a nuanced light that will also illuminate the way you see our present.
9. Learn how to have the hard talk.
Difficult Conversations: How To Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton & Sheila Heen
Once you read it: You’ll have the confidence to have all of those big talks that you need, but don’t want. Equally applicable to work and to home.
10. Learn how to express yourself with words.
Writing Down The Bones: Freeing The Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg
Once you read it: you’ll be inspired to express yourself with words.
11. Learn how to manage your money.
Your Money Or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
Once you read it: money will stop dictating your ups and downs, and you’ll be inspired to allow your passions to rule your life while achieving financial independence.
12. Learn why you’re never satisfied.
Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Once you read it: You’ll stop trying so hard to be happy and just let yourself… be.
13. Learn about what that whole “string theory” thing is.
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
Once you read it: You’ll get how science can sometimes be “the better story” after all.
14. Learn how to interpret studies and statistics.
How To Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff
Once you read it: You’ll read the “news” with appropriate cynicism.
15. Learn why the things you use every day look and work the way they do.
The Design Of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
Once you read it: You’ll never look at a door the same way again.
16. Learn how to read comics.
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Once you read it: You’ll never doubt that comics are art.
17. Learn the basics of design and production.
Design It Yourself: A Design Handbook by Ellen Lupton
Once you read it: You’ll start making beautiful things… yourself!
18. Learn why people do and buy the things they do.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
Once you read it: The mysteries of your bad monetary decisions will be unveiled and you can start fighting your own dumb psychology to make better choices.
19. Learn what Marcel Proust can teach you about living well.
How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
Once you read it: Your life will change, duh.
20. Learn how to contemplate the universe.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Once you read it: Your mind will no longer stutter to a stop when you are trying to grasp the concepts of science – from quantum physics to evolution.