Everyone enjoys top ten lists, right? So, here it is. My very own list of the Top Ten books that have most influenced me and contributed towards shaping my outlook. I didn’t want it all to look too narcissistic so have decided to limit my comments on each book to a single sentence explaining why I was so taken by the book.
Please do add your own all time favourite book recommendations along with the reasons why in the comments section below!
1. The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
A compellingly argued paean to the scientific method and the Enlightenment as our best means of overcoming the inevitable obstacles that humankind faces and will inevitably continue to face in the future.
2. Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth R. Miller
3. The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski
Accompanying the landmark 1973 BBC television series, this book is an inspiring celebration of the numerous peaks that humankind has crossed on its way to modern civilisation.
4. Muhammad at Mecca/Muhammad at Medina by W. Montgomery Watt
Many Muslim-authored biographies of the Prophet Muhammad suffer from being too hagiographical, while Watt’s two- volume book appears to be fair and balanced in comparison.
5. The Qur’an Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation and particularly his extensive and erudite commentary is a continual pleasure to read and learn from. (Note: This refers to the original Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation and commentary, not the “Revised” translation and commentary by the Saudi-financed shit-heads that butchered his work as it offended their Salafi ideology).
6. Who Needs An Islamic State? by Abdulwahab el-Affendi
Convinced me that those movements calling for the establishment of an “Islamic State” would almost certainly set up repressive and authoritarian regimes if they succeeded in gaining power.
7. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Extremely black comedy about war that helps build up a healthy scepticism towards those wielding power.
8. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
A plausible and deeply haunting look at the apocalyptic future awaiting humankind if we do not come to our senses and refrain from using weapons of mass destruction.
9. The End of Science by John Horgan
A sceptical look at some of the latest ideas in the world of science accompanied by a series of searching and amusing interviews with some of its most famous current practitioners.
10. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
A passionate plea for humankind to turn away from narrow sectarian differences, to reject superstition and instead to fulfil our innate curiosity to learn more about the universe and our place within it.