Below are books on Matt and Brannon’s short list of recommendations. For an insight into what we find interesting and how we shaped our worldviews, look no further than these excellent books that force one to consider things larger than themselves.

Hitch 22

Christopher Hitchens contains multitudes. He sees all sides of an argument. And he believes the personal is political.

This is the story of his life, lived large.



Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition.

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The Gift of Fear

n this empowering book, Gavin de Becker shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it's too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love.



Demand for recognition of one’s identity is a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today. Identity by Francis Fukuyama is an urgent and necessary book―a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continuing conflict.


Student of Life

Referenced in an episode of the Elevated Minds podcast, co-host Brannon McConkey discusses his keys to happiness. More than the subtitle suggests, there is much to be said about intellectual pursuits, relationships, and a mixture of solitude and good company.

Unweaving the Rainbow

Did Newton "unweave the rainbow" by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says acclaimed scientist Richard Dawkins; Newton's unweaving is the key to much of the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology.



Subtitled “A Portrait of My Father,” this love note from son to enigmatic father is a must-read for people that still believe in a United States that can rise above polarizing politics. One of the most galvanizing figures in Washington, DC gets the royal treatment from his son.

The Moral Landscape

In this highly controversial book, Sam Harris seeks to link morality to the rest of human knowledge. Defining morality in terms of human and animal well-being, Harris argues that science can do more than tell how we are; it can, in principle, tell us how we ought to be.


The Black Hole War

Want to spend a few hours bending the limits of comprehension? Leonard Susskind is probably the smartest person you’ve never heard of. Here, he recounts his over-20-year fight with Stephen Hawking over information in black holes. Spoiler: Hawking lost.