The Story of Philosophy

By Will Durant

First published in 1926, The Story of Philosophy chronicles the history and ideas of some of the most prominent western philosophers, from Plato to Friedrich Nietzsche. 

While not a complete history of philosophy, and too early to include more contemporary philosophers, Durant's popular book provides an excellent introduction, or overview, of many of the most important philosophical ideas, and they way they influenced many later ideas, not only those of other philosophers, but the general public as well. A very informing and captivating adventure in thought.

A Short History of Nearly Everything

By Bill Bryson

The title of this book might seem to imply a history of all human events, but rather it's about the history of developments in our understanding of the world, and the universe.

Written in an informative and entertaining style that is accessible to the general public, Bill Bryson explores the history of science - a chronology of the discoveries that led to our understanding of our world and some of its great mysteries, from the Big Bang, to the evolution of species and culture, to the scientific revolutions that enabled us to understand them.

The illustrated edition is supplemented by full-colour artwork, visually illustrating the concepts and people who forged our understanding of the universe.

How the Mind Works

By Steven Pinker

One of the most intriguing and seemingly incomprehensible aspects of humanity is the human mind. We use it each day, and incessantly, both consciously and subconsciously, and every one of us achieves feats of mental processing beyond even the most powerful supercomputers. It gives us our personality, our emotions, and our abilities. Our minds are who we are.

But how does the mind work?

What makes us feel the emotions that we feel? Why are we rational, and why do we so often undermine our own rationality? What makes us laugh or cry, or feel pain or sexual desire? Why do we appreciate art, or ponder the meaning of life?

In How the Mind Works, Steven Pinker explains the computational theory of mind, taking us through the evolution of the physical brain in tandem with mental states, as well as culture, ideas and emotions, bringing together explanations from the fields of cognitive science, and evolutionary biology and psychology.