18 Books That Make You An Intelligent Person

Every time is the perfect time to relax with a book, so why not choose one that will stretch your mind?  Reading has always been believed to enrich the mind, and in the past several decades, multiple studies have backed up this belief. But there isn’t only one way to become “smarter.” There are three acknowledged types of intelligence: fluid, crystallized, and emotional.

Fluid intelligence is the ability to think abstractly, to establish relationships between separate concepts, to reason and learn new things.

Crystallized intelligence involves the compilation of knowledge acquired throughout your life, and the ability to solve problems based on such knowledge.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions.

In this article, you will find a list of books to help you stimulate and exercise all three.

1.Frames of Mind, by Howard Gardner

18 Books That Make You An Intelligent Person

You might as well start at the source. Gardner’s seminal 1983 book lays out his theory of multiple versions of intelligence in detail. He describes the nine types of intelligence as different ways people process information and argues that they operate largely independently and that modern testing and education systems are fatally flawed because they don’t take this variety into account. It’s a fascinating work that might change how you think about thinking.

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2.The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War, 18 Books That Make You An Intelligent Person

While this ancient book might, at first, appear like a manual that you would use in the military, the ideas about strategy contained within its pages translate into successful tactics that anyone from a CEO to an entrepreneur can use to create a more intelligent strategy for their business.

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3.Spatial Intelligence: by Daniel Ness, Stephen J. Farenga, Salvatore G. Garofalo

Spatial Intelligence: Why It Matters from Birth through the Lifespan

No book offers a more comprehensive outline of what, exactly, spatial intelligence is, and why you should be more aware of it. After explaining the natural tendency for all people to interrogate the world through spatial relationships and knowledge, it offers real-world parallels linking spatial skills to professional skills, and demonstrates how developing them can make you more effective and successful.

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4.Thinking, Fast and Slow by Dan Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow

So much of today’s success comes from having the right mindset for business. This book is dedicated to showing you how to think methodically and rapidly as well as when to know to make faster or slower decisions. You want to be quick on your feet, but you also do not want to rush into a decision that needs more thinking time, so Dan Kahneman offers both the Fast System and Slow System to help you know when and how to use each speed of thinking.

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5.Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind By Yuval Noha Harari.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 
18 Books That Make You An Intelligent Person

A deeply compelling exploration of human history, Harari’s work delves into the evolution of the human species, from the time that Homo Sapiens shared the earth with others, to the contemporary human, and beyond. It tracks the three great revolutions that altered the course of humankind and the way our brains and cultures developed and expanded.

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6.Train Your Brain: By Dana Wilde

18 Books That Make You An Intelligent Person

This short book undertakes to stimulate your brain in order to prevent its aging and loss of capabilities. It consists in a series of spreadsheets with daily exercises to boost your brainpower. A bestseller in Japan, it’s a practical and engaging way to stimulate your mind.

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7.The Greatest Secret in the World by Og Mandino

The Greatest Secret in the World

This book has absolutely stood the test of time and is on most lists as a book that is a must-read – don’t miss it – whatever situation you are in. Not only does this book make you more intelligent with the insights, but it also gives you the plan for developing those traits that work to get you what you want in an easier way. The transformational processes described in this book also will help improve relationships with all types of people.

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8.A Short History Of Nearly Everything By Bill Bryson

18 Books That Make You An Intelligent Person

This wildly popular book can boast of divulging complex scientific topics in an intelligible, accessible manner. Bryson wrote it in order to make science interesting for himself as well as the everyday reader. With a rating of 4.2 stars on Goodreads, it’s fair to say that he succeeded.

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9.Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass By Frederick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

It is a heart-wrenching yet inspiring account of the power of learning and reading, as well as an exploration of the ways in which slavery was denigrating for slaves and slaveowners alike (this doesn’t negate the responsibility or evil of the latter).

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10.Last chance to see: by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine

Last Chance to See: Amazon.co.uk: Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine ...


Our ability to identify and comprehend other living things has always been essential to our survival, from the first time someone died from eating the wrong berries, to our instinctive reaction to spotting a rabid dog on the street. Naturalistic Intelligence is severely underdeveloped in a large portion of the modern world, insulated as we are from the hunting and farming and wilderness survival that was once essential. Adams and Carwardine’s book focuses on species that are in imminent danger of extinction an excellent place to start your naturalistic reeducation.

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11. Gödel, Escher, Bach: by Douglas R. Hofstadter


This book isn’t solely focused on one form of intelligence there is a lot of musical intelligence stuff in here as well, for example. But it’s a deep dive into questions, puzzles, and ways of thinking directly linked to the Logical-Mathematical part of your brain, and it’s so energetically written and wonderfully imagined, it’s also a damn hard book to put down. It’s not easy reading, but it will definitely leave your logic circuits buffed up once you’ve absorbed its stories, word games, linguistic puzzles, and deep references.

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12. Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do By Amy Morin

Morin’s book offers practical, actionable advice to stimulate emotional intelligence. She draws from her experience as a licensed clinical social worker, and her own journey through a devastating loss, to sketch a map of qualities that help build emotional resilience.

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13. A Brief History Of Time By Stephen Hawking

A Brief History of Time

Hawking wrote this definitive account of cosmology for the non-scientist who wished to know more about this fascinating science. Updated throughout the years, A Brief History of Time remains unsurpassed as an introduction to the topic.

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14. The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes

The Courage to Write

Those that write well are often deemed to be more intelligent than those that cannot. Pick up this manual, which serves as both a how-to book and a fountain of inspiration to be brave and take on writing. This gives you the information you need to improve everything from your grammar and structure to tone and style.

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15. To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

There’s a sense that this classic novel gets an inflated reputation because of its racially-charged subject matter, but that’s unfair Lee’s first novel is a genius-level creation of Interpersonal intelligence and empathy. Science tells us that reading classic literature improves both dramatically anyway, partially because it forces us to experience lives much different from our own. That’s true of Mockingbird, but it’s also a book featuring the main character, Scout, with a genius-level Interpersonal IQ. Scout navigates the other characters with a strong instinct for who’s good, who’s bad, and how to deal with both, even though she often lacks the experience to put her instinct into words. You can learn a lot just by thinking about why she reacts in certain ways throughout the story.

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16. Not That Bad: By Roxane Gay

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture

In the era of #MeToo, this anthology of essays chronicles the gaslighting permeating our world, that allows rape culture to thrive. Sexual assault and harassment are routinely dismissed as “not that bad”, making it harder for survivors to acknowledge or speak out about the abuse they are victims of.

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17. You Are Not Your Brain by Jeffrey Schwarz

Most of us need to practice greater discipline in how we think and act. This book offers tips on how to control your mind while managing any impulses that may be impacting relationships, productivity, and overall success.

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18. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers: The Story of Success

The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell: While high IQ is great to have, this book provides the logic behind why some are more successful than others, illustrating that it is not always related directly to intelligence levels. Using findings from evolutionary psychologically, Malcolm Gladwell teaches you how to be smarter and, more importantly, successful.

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