The best books to understand humanity and the universe

Mahmoud Elsayed Author Of The Bitter Truth of Reality: The route to skepticism and the case against objective reality
By Mahmoud Elsayed

Who am I?

Mahmoud Elsayed has always been interested in finding rational answers to the big existential questions. This could clearly be noticed in his writings and philosophy. He has also worked in various and somehow diverse fields of engineering and science which allowed him to smoothly, flexibly, and knowledgeably jump from a field of expertise to another in order to make his philosophical arguments comprehensive. 


I wrote...

The Bitter Truth of Reality: The route to skepticism and the case against objective reality

By Mahmoud Elsayed,

Book cover of The Bitter Truth of Reality: The route to skepticism and the case against objective reality

What is my book about?

Reality is the one word that describes everything we live in, everything we know, knew, and will. It represents time, space, and all the other possible dimensions. But what exactly is reality? In his book, The Bitter Truth of Reality, author Mahmoud Elsayed attempts to answer this complex query by taking a journey through physics, biology, human anatomy, history, philosophy, and even religions. Hopefully, by the end of this book, the reader will find an answer to this question that sits at the top of the existential questions list.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Why this book?

When reading about history, we often get lost in the fine details of the historical events, and in doing so we lose the sense of realizing the bigger picture and the common trends which are by far the best indicators of where our civilization is moving toward. They are also the key to having an intuitive understanding of our social and collective nature. Yuval Noah Harari does this perfectly by using a coherent, well-connected, and simple presentation of humankind’s history.


Why the World Doesn't Seem to Make Sense: An Inquiry Into Science, Philosophy and Perception

By Steve Hagen,

Book cover of Why the World Doesn't Seem to Make Sense: An Inquiry Into Science, Philosophy and Perception

Why this book?

Our daily routine and the full of distractions life of the 21st-century human often draft us away and divert us from the fact that we live in a completely weird and bizarre reality. Steve Hagan digs deeper into this concept and presents amusing and mind-blowing notions about our perception and the things that we made out of it (philosophy and science). 


Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy

By Jostein Gaarder, Paulette Møller (translator),

Book cover of Sophie's World: A Novel about the History of Philosophy

Why this book?

In this masterpiece, Jostein Gaarder presents the whole history of philosophy in the form of a novel. This is by far the most interesting historical presentation of philosophy I have ever come across. The genius of Jostein Gaarder could be clearly seen in the narrative as he does not just explain the ideologies of the philosophers across the decades, but also picks some ideas, visualize them, and smoothly integrate them into the story. 


God: A Human History

By Reza Aslan,

Book cover of God: A Human History

Why this book?

Whether you are religious or not, whether you like it or not, religions and God/Gods have been a part of the human civilizations as far as we started documenting, writing, and recording history and perhaps even as far as we existed. To understand the part that religion played in our history and how it had and still could have a significant effect on how we perceive the world and reality in general, it may be crucial to understand the history of religions and how they originated. Raza Aslan gives a wonderful presentation on that in this book. 


The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

By Brian Greene,

Book cover of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

Why this book?

Theoretical physics, though might be the best way to explain and investigate our physical reality, could be very complicated to the extent that it became a synonym incomprehensible to some. In this book, Brian Greene explains the most complicated concepts in physics in an elegantly simple way that allows a 12-year-old kid to understand them perfectly well. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in philosophy, evolution, and perception?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about philosophy, evolution, and perception.

Philosophy Explore 325 books about philosophy
Evolution Explore 85 books about evolution
Perception Explore 14 books about perception

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Into the Wild, The Anarchy, and 1491 if you like this list.