Discover the top 10 books recommended by Harvard professors for a deeper understanding of the world

A book can hold a whole world. Reading provides an escape from the stresses of daily life, reduces stress, develops cognitive skills and enriches vocabulary, among other benefits.

Reading: a beneficial practice for mental health and general well-being

It's a place where you can take refuge after a hard day's work, but also a place where you can relax in your free time. Reading has become a practice which, in addition to being educational, is highly beneficial to and general .

In the digital age in which we live, it's important to make time for reading in our daily lives, even if it's just 10 minutes before bedtime. What's more, as the vacations approach, it's a good pastime to occupy those hours spent in the sun on the beach or by the pool.

Literature for understanding the world

Choosing a book can be complicated, because the options are endless. That's why Harvard University surveyed its professors and, based on their answers, compiled a list of 10 essential books that everyone should read to understand the world we live in:

1. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, by Shosahan Zubogg.

This book was written by Harvard Business School alumnus Soshana Zuboff. It deals with people's behavior and its impact on the sale of products and services by major corporations. All these variables are crossed by a single one: freedom. It runs to around 800 pages and is one of the bestsellers.

2. Competing in the age of artificial intelligence, by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani.

Written by two Business School professors, Marco and Karim outline the extent to which is being implemented in the business sector, analyzing companies such as Airbnb, Jack Ma's Ant Financial and Alibaba, and .

According to the authors, data, analytics and artificial intelligence have a potential that eliminates traditional boundaries. This is a research book on how companies can improve their business strategy with AI.

3. Teaching from the Heart, by Thomas J. DeLong

This book tells the story of a teacher's journey to explain what makes a teacher a great leader. It has been named the best leadership book of 2020 by Leadership Now. DeLong outlines his 40-year journey as a teacher.

4. Edge, by Laura Huang

Writer and teacher Laura Huang has written Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage to help people perceive themselves and work on emotional intelligence. The book aims to help people understand the power of perceptions.

5. Healthy Buildings, by John D. Macomber

Professor John D. Macomber analyzes the impact of rooms and buildings on people's moods. With remote working, this book has become even more relevant: we spend more than half our lives indoors and, according to the author, we don't spend enough time outdoors.

This book examines the impact of environments on people's performance and well-being in terms of creativity and .

6. Mauvais sang, by John Carreyrou

The story of the unpredictable rise and fall of Theranos, the multi-billion-dollar biotech startup, told by the award-winning journalist who broke the story and followed the crisis through to the end, despite pressure from the company's charismatic CEO and threats from its lawyers.

7. Welcome to the West, by Moshin Hamid

Welcome to the West presents a story in a troubled world. Moshin Hamid recounts the lives of two refugees with tenderness, without neglecting the horrors they endure. Critics have described the book as “a true work of art”.

8. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

This is the recommendation of economic historian and economics professor Claudia Goldin. Published in 1877, it hasn't lost its relevance: it's one of the texts that best defines and represents the oppression of women, regardless of education or social class.

Set in the circles of the Russian aristocracy at the end of the 19th century, it's a universal classic considered the pinnacle of realism and, for Professor Goldin, the best novel ever written.

9. Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments

It was only to be expected that the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Economics would opt for reading relevant to his field. Erik Maskin recommends delving into the world of the father of capitalism, Adam Smith.

In his pages, a treatise against selfishness and a defense of empathy, as well as a description of resentment, revenge, corruption and .

10. Contagious, by Jonah Berger

A New York Times bestseller that explains why certain products and ideas are so successful. “Jonah Berger knows best what makes information go viral,” says Daniel Gliber, author of the bestseller Stumbling on Happiness. A professor of marketing, Jonah Berger has been dissecting the world of viral over the last few years.

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