Neuroplasticity is a word I learned through reading this book, and Doige's absolute optimism in explaining what brains are capable of doing (not just those of humans) blows me away every time I read it. It's not a light read, I need to attack it a chapter at a time usually, but goddamn it is worth your time. Blind people learning to see through sensors on their tongue. You can't make this stuff up.
The Half Life of Facts by Samuel Arbesman
Science and optimism must be a theme I subconsciously use to select my reading. I was inspired by the way Arbesman made number crunching and data gathering so interesting (for someone who does not math, this was quite surprising). I could actually relate to the results in an everyday kind of way - I decided my blog readership was going to grow exponentially because of this book :) There are great real life anecdotes, based on solid research and science, that ultimately makes you question everything you know, or just makes you feel ok about leaving the knowing of stuff up to Google to give your brain a break.
A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis MD, Fari Amini MD and Richard Lannon MD
I found this book through a rather obscure Google result that lead me to a no longer updated blog (sad, coz I rather liked it). The term limbic resonance hooked me and I find it a fascinating read because it offers so many answers to Why we love/nurture/care for each other without jumping in to pure science, or pure speculation either. Also, the cover is absolute genius in one simple image.
Quiet by Susan Cain
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you even have to pick one to define yourself at all? Susan Cain's book made me change the way I thought about my personality and helped me value the less outgoing side of myself just as much as my public speaking side. Susan's TED talk explaining the basis of the book is a great introduction to all the topics she covers. Yay for the champion of individual work over group work, yaaaaaaay!!