by Maria Popova

How to "glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world."

In December of 2011, Neil deGrasse Tyson - champion of science, celebrator of the cosmic perspective, master of the soundbite - participated in Reddit's Ask Me Anything series of public questions and answers. One reader posed the following question: "Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?" Adding to history's notable reading lists - including those by Leo Tolstoy, Alan Turing, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Stewart Brand, and Carl Sagan - Tyson offers the following eight essentials, each followed by a short, and sometimes wry, statement about "how the book's content influenced the behavior of people who shaped the western world":

Tyson adds: ...[Continue reading on Brain Pickings]