5 Books That Are Very Thought-Provoking

Last Updated on April 9, 2022 by Stephanie

Why do you read? Are you someone who reads to learn, to escape, or to be inspired? I am a reader who mixes around with my interests. I typically have 3-4 books going at once. Depending on my mood and my attention I need different things. These five books are thought-provoking books to read when you really want to think.  They will help you grow and think more about your day-to-day and your big picture.

As always, I’ve read all of the books I recommend. I love talking about them and spreading the word about them. The more you read, the more you know!  Check out these 5 books when you want to think.

1. Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

As a white woman in the United States, I am very aware that I have had numerous advantages in my life. I am absolutely open to learning about these things and learning how to be more aware of my biases. As a teacher, this really hits home. Emmanuel Acho puts a lot of thought-provoking questions out there that you may be thinking in your head but have always been afraid to ask. It is split up into a few parts touching on things like systemic racism, individual racism, and what actions you can take.

It has always been my belief that talking about things in a respectful manner and asking questions when we don’t know the answer, is the best way to go. Acho explains ways to do that and ways to understand different things that have gone on in the United States in the past few years and beyond. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to open up their mind about race. Another book I recommend is Between the World and Me which I talk about in my post about 5 books that will help you start your year off right.

2. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven

Written by a United States Navy Admiral (retired), this book is short and awesome. It is very thought-provoking and features several insights he has learned throughout his career as a Navy Officer.  He trained as a Navy SEAL and learned so much about perseverance, leaning on others, going past your setbacks, and so much more. He gave a quite famous commencement speech that inspired the authoring of this book. You can read the speech as well as the stories behind each of those insights here. It is a very quick read if you are wanting a short dose of inspiration.  Honestly, just learning what a sugar cookie is will make the entire book worth it!

3. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

This was my latest read and it was very interesting and thought-provoking. As a teacher, a parent, and a human in general I found it all useful information. Duckworth is a researcher at heart, but her mission in life is to use it to help children. Why does this matter to you and me? It matters because the insights she compiles are very relevant to all of us. Learning about how we can grow our own personal grit and help those around us become more gritty is valuable.

I enjoyed the very different studies and insights she offered. She also presents all the information easily. One of my biggest takeaways is how it helped me change the way I talk to my students and my daughter. The realization that we, as a society, are short-changing ourselves and our potential by how we react when we see success makes reading this book a must.

woman reading books that are thought-provoking.
Photo by Matias North on Unsplash

4. Free Lunch and Punching Bag by Rex Ogle

These two books are very hard to read, but not because they are lengthy. You could probably get through each in a day. They are hard to read because of their content. The books are essentially a memoir written by the author about his life growing up in poverty. As a young boy, he was subject to several years of abuse and was witness to even more abuse.  Both of these books I read as a book study for professional development as an educator, but I recommend them to anyone because they will open your eyes to a reality you may not understand.

Fair warning that there are very graphic depictions of abuse and neglect in both books, so if that is a trigger for you, please be aware.  I am a better person and teacher for reading both of these and understanding that there may be more going on at home than meets the eye. If you do choose to read these, I would highly recommend looking up the author and learning more about him and his life now. He has done several interviews about his relationships, what he does now, and how he overcame such trauma-filled childhood.

5. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

Looking at that title, you might be a bit confused. I’ve touched on race, grit, overcoming obstacles, abuse, and all these deep topics. Now I’m recommending a book about food? The title of this post is books that are very thought-provoking. This book will deliver on that promise. I am someone who loves reading about nutrition topics and the politics of food. It fascinates me to learn about how much of our food life is influenced by things that are out of our control. You might be surprised about the tricks that food companies use to get you to buy their products and why you pick certain brands over others. This book talks about this and how major food companies knowingly load processed foods with things to get us hooked even though they know it goes against nutrition advice.

Did you know that a lot of the big wigs at these companies actually refuse to even consume their own product or have it in their homes? Did you know that at one point in our country’s history we own a cave full of milk and dairy products? Guys… there was a cave of dairy products… that we bought… and kept in a cave… it blew my mind.  There were several things I learned while reading this book that I believe will cause you to think about food choice and brand choice a bit more than you did the day before.

Final Thoughts

I love doing these types of posts. As I mentioned above, I am a reader, and I am a believer that reading is a habit that everyone can benefit from. Even if you aren’t someone who likes informational books, pick up a book. Pick up any book! If you want to know why reading is so important, check out my post about setting a reading goal.

If you are an avid reader, check out the digital book journal available here in my shop! It works with most PDF annotating software and lets you log the books you’ve read this year and keep reviews on all of them! I love keeping track of what I’ve read!

Digital Reading Journal

Have you read any of the books above, or are you planning to? Let me know in the comments about which ones!

Read More:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *