16 Books to Increase IQ and Improve the Way You Think

If you want to boost your intelligence, hit a library and look for books to increase IQ. You’ll find a comprehensive list of options in this article.

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Do books increase IQ? As it turns out, they do—as long as you read the right type.

For instance, reading Twilight might not do much for your intelligence. However, books on philosophy, psychology, and history can significantly change your outlook and way of thinking.

To save you the trouble of looking for them on your own, we will introduce you to some of the best books to increase IQ in this article. Let’s get started!

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13 Books to Increase IQ

13 Books to Increase IQ

13 Books to Increase IQ

Instead of specifically choosing books on IQ, we picked readings likely to expand your worldview and make you think in ways you’ve never considered before. That will, in turn, positively affect your intelligence and make you a more creative thinker.

#1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

“If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War may be over 2,500 years old, but its wisdom is still as relevant today as it was in ancient China. The short book is a compelling read on military strategy, delving into the specifics of tactics, planning, and conflict in each of the 13 chapters.

Although its primary focus is the military, the advice readers can get from it finds many applications in today’s business, management, sports, and politics. As a result, it’s a crucial novel for gaining a better understanding of the world and one of the most popular books to increase IQ.

Genre: Philosophy, History, Treatise

#2. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

“We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events.” – Daniel Kahneman

In 2011, psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman compiled years of research on human behavior into Thinking, Fast and Slow, a beautifully written book on human irrationality.
Using his two thinking modes, System 1 (automatic) and System 2 (deliberate), Kahneman explores the mechanisms behind human errors, overconfidence, and cognitive biases. His conclusions, as well as the outlined experiments, are eye-opening, forcing the reader to reevaluate their own decision-making processes.

Genre: Popular Science, Psychology

#3. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

“The Golden Rule of Habit Change: You can’t extinguish a bad habit; you can only change it.” – Charles Duhigg

Did you know that habits influence 40% of our decisions every day? This information, along with other details relating to the mechanism and formation of habits, can be found in Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book.

As The Power of Habit shows, habits are useful when leveraged to enact positive change in our lives. However, they may also present an obstacle, making it important to understand them and learn to adapt them to our needs.

Genre: Self-help

#4. The Hidden Habits of Genius by Craig Wright

“Genius is only childhood recovered at will.” – Craig Wright

When looking for books to raise IQ, hardly any fit the criteria better than The Hidden Habits of Genius. Its author, music historian Craig Wright, explores the so-called “genius formula” and lists the common traits and behaviors of great minds such as Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, and Leonardo DaVinci.

Having examined the big names of the past, Wright concludes that IQ tests aren’t a perfect tool for discovering geniuses. After all, in addition to being intelligent, geniuses are also imaginative, curious, and passionate. And most importantly, they put consistent effort into improving their craft.

Genre: Self-help, Biography, History

#5. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

“Protons give an atom its identity, electrons its personality.” – Bill Bryson

As fascinating as science is, the dull, overly complicated style used in most academic books and papers turns off many otherwise avid readers. That’s not an issue with Bill Bryson’s writing—he ensured that his book on crucial scientific discoveries is entertaining and accessible to people from all walks of life.

Therefore, even though you’ll be learning a lot, you won’t feel like you’re reading scientific literature. Instead, it’s like enjoying a story about our world and universe, as well as the trials and tribulations scientists had to face to bring their discoveries to light.

Genre: Popular science

#6. Black-and-White Thinking by Kevin Dutton

Chess works because the board is black and white. Life works because our brains are black and white. But wisdom lies in the knowledge of the grey.” – Kevin Dutton

It’s no secret that our brains don’t deal with nuance and complexity well. After all, “us vs. them” and “right vs. wrong” mindsets were useful to our prehistoric ancestors.

However, as Black-and-White Thinking claims, these binary mindsets can affect us negatively in the modern world. So, even if we can’t entirely change them, we can acknowledge them and attempt to think in shades of gray instead.

Genre: Self-help, Psychology

#7. Cosmos by Carl Sagan

“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan

Although it was published in 1980, Cosmos by Carl Sagan hasn’t lost its relevance in the past four decades. Essentially, this book is a deep exploration of space, touching upon its past, its future, and our place in it.

While the book draws inspiration from many disciplines—science, history, politics, philosophy—it never loses its reader. Instead, Sagan’s poetic, readable style only pulls you in deeper, amplifying the feelings of wonder at the world around you.

Genre: Popular science

#8. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

“If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish.” – Rolf Dobelli

In The Art of Thinking Clearly, Swiss author Rolf Dobelli pulls no punches as he sheds light on the 99 most common cognitive biases influencing our judgment and reason. His goal? Helping you recognize these in yourself and start making sound decisions, free of the typical misconceptions.

Genre: Self-help, Psychology

#9. The Socrates Express by Eric Weiner

“Respond to adversity, real or imagined, not with self-pity or hand-wringing, but simply by starting over.” – Eric Weiner

In his thought-provoking book, Eric Weiner travels around the world, visiting spots connected to 14 philosophers (Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Nietzsche) and musing on the lessons they taught him. In a way, his text breathes new life into the old teachings, bringing philosophy closer to the readers and helping them gain a new perspective.

Genre: Travelogue, Philosophy

#10. The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley

“One Reality, all-comprehensive, contains within itself all realities.” – Aldous Huxley

In Perennial Philosophy, Aldous Huxley introduces the idea that all world religions—both Western and Eastern—have an underlying common philosophy.

To prove his point, he sets out to examine them all, from Taoism and Christianity to Buddhism and Islam. In his quest, he introduces the reader to a wealth of religious knowledge that he still manages to keep digestible and accessible.
Genre: Philosophy, Spirituality, Religion

#11. Useful Delusions by Shankar Vedantam & Bill Mesler

“If sacrificing the facts can ease the unpleasant feeling, the facts turn out to be expendable.” – Shankar Vedantam

Should you always be honest with yourself, or are there times when self-deception is acceptable? According to Useful Delusions, the lies we tell ourselves play an important role in preserving our mental well-being, relationships, and even physical health.

The book, written in the gentle but authoritative style of Shankar Vedantam, explores the psychology behind self-deception, helping you understand the workings of your own mind.

Genre: Psychology, Self-help

#12. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

“We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.” – Yuval Noah Harari

Dive headfirst into the fascinating history of humankind, starting from 70,000 years ago, when we first gained cognition, and ending in the uncertain future of bioengineered post-humans.

Sounds like an ambitious book to write? It is, but Harari weaves it skillfully, making a stop at every pivotal moment in our story to examine its consequences. Yet the book isn’t just dry history—it delves into philosophy, psychology, and anthropology, becoming a must-read for every sapiens.

Genre: History, Science, Anthropology

#13. Think Again by Adam Grant

“We favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt.” – Adam Grant

One of the best books to increase IQ, Think Again invites readers to reconsider their deep-seated beliefs, evaluate their worth, and discard them if needed. After all, as comfortable as holding onto our stances may be, it’s counterproductive and may prevent us from reaching our full potential.

Genre: Self-help, Psychology

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3 Books to Increase IQ with Practical Applications

3 Books to Increase IQ with Practical Applications

3 Books to Increase IQ with Practical Applications

Are you looking for something more practical than Perennial Philosophy or Cosmos? The following three books to increase IQ score supplement the theory with puzzles and brain exercises, giving you space to train your mind.

#1. Train Your Brain by Terry Horne & Simon Wootton

When you want to train your body, you hit the gym. And when you need some brain exercises, you grab Terry Horne and Simon Wootton’s Train Your Brain.

As one of the best books to increase intelligence, Train Your Brain contains hundreds of puzzles designed to get the cogs in your head turning. Additionally, you will find useful advice on lifestyle choices that can further improve your mental agility.

#2. Tactical Thinking: 50 Brain-Training Puzzles to Change the Way You Think by Charles Phillips

Improve your debate skills and creative thinking using the Tactical Thinking guide, a book divided into two parts—theoretical and practical. After reading the theory, apply it to 50 brain-training puzzles and teach your mind to think strategically in all situations.

#3. The Sherlock Holmes Puzzle Collection by Tim Dedopulos

Whether you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or not, you’ll benefit from solving mysteries from Tim Dedopulos’s collection. Grab a metaphorical magnifying glass, bring out your inner detective, and train your deductive reasoning through fun and unique puzzles with a Victorian England backdrop!

Key takeaways

Key Takeaways

Books are an excellent way to boost your intelligence and learn about perspectives you might not have considered before. However, to make the most of them, you must pick carefully—not every book is meant to nourish the mind.

Our list, ranging from the ancient Chinese philosophy of The Art of War to modern approaches in Think Again, will certainly give you a lot to chew on. So, pick one of the books to increase IQ we suggested and start working on yourself!

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