News Mar 7th 2018

8 Things To Read To Enhance Your General Knowledge


When it comes to the world of student life, it would be fair to say that the moment you make a solid decision about your choice of future study, the majority of your attention then turns to this area, leaving the potential for lots of gaps to be formed in other areas of your general knowledge. It makes perfect sense for a maths student to focus on numbers and equations, or a history student to be more comfortable with the 18th century than with the 21st, but there is no getting away from the fact that without a good general knowledge, you might start to stumble when it comes to things like job interviews where expertise in your field is only a portion of what your employers are looking for. In order to graduate with a more rounded perspective, here are eight things to read that will enhance your general knowledge.

1. The Economist

This is an easily accessible publication that will give you all of the most relevant headlines and stories in the world of international politics and economics. It will help to give you a better understand of things like the stock trade, whilst also giving insights in to more human interest issues like sweet potato harvests in Brundi!

2. The London Review Of Books

This will do wonders do boost your intellectual discussion skills. The London Review Of Books is a fortnightly publication that contains literary and intellectual essays focused on a different theme for each issue. Past themes have included disliking poetry, the 2016 US Presidential election and the Iliad. The essays are eclectic as the themes, and can provide some real food for thought.

3. A Brief History Of Time

This 1988 classic by Professor Stephen Hawking is an absolute must read for anyone wanting to enhance their general knowledge. Examining the nature and origin of the universe, Hawking's work makes an unimaginably large topic very accessible, even for a complete beginner in the field. He poses theories as answers to a lot of the world's most important and large scale questions.

4. XKCD: What If

If A Brief History Of Time starts to feel a little too ‘mathsy' for you, then XKCD: What If is an alternative science text to try out. Written by former NASA roboticist Randal Munroe, XKCD is a web comic that poses hypothetical ‘what if?' questions and works to try to provide as accessible and understandable an answer for each as possible. Something like “what would it be like to swim on the moon?” is a good example of the comic's content, and readers can entertain themselves as they educate themselves.

5. Very Short Introductions

Published by Oxford University Press, this is a series of over 500 works that aim to clue you in on a big subject in 150 pages or less. From World War II to World Music to Accounting to African American Religion, the books are fast paced and cram in all of the essential information without being overwhelming. They only cost about £8 each, making each one a perfect starting place for any topic.

6. Little Black Classics

If you are looking to enhance your knowledge and experience of classic literature, then look no further than Penguin Books Little Black Classics series. They are small, pocket sized editions of some of the worlds greatest works from Thomas Hardy to Anton Chekhov to Dante. The best part is that they are all only 64 pages long, giving you a taste of the bigger picture in order to allow you to find your preferences before diving deeper.

7. Thinking, Fast And Slow

Written by Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast And Slow is a summary of the author's research into economic behaviour based on rational decision making. It might sound dry on first impressions, but the book can help you to change the way your think about finance, or at least expand your knowledge of an opposing set of values.

8. BBC Breaking News

In the current climate of ‘fake news', it is also advisable to stick to an official, historic outlet for your breaking news, and the BBC is a safe pair of hands when it comes to reliable, credible news stories.

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