Great Books for Learning New Skills

by Anne B. Robinson

It’s always nice to read for pleasure, whether that means going through the Harry Potter books for the 20th time, checking off the classics, or reading the Danielle Steel books in order while you’re curled up on the sofa with a cup of coffee. A lot of people also turn to read in order to pick up new knowledge and skills – particularly now that so many people absorb these books through services like Audible or Blinkist, making it easier to pick up lessons. If you’re looking to level up in some skills or you’re looking for inspiration for a new hobby, here are a few books to get you started.

How to Draw Cool Stuff: A Drawing Guide for Teachers and Students – Catherine Holmes

We’ve probably seen a thousand how-to-draw books over the years, but few of them are as effective or interesting as How to Draw Cool Stuff. A review from mentions that the book has very detailed information about how to draw, well, cool stuff with easy directions. It breaks each drawing down into basic shapes – which is a great foundation for beginning artists.

Looking for Trouble – Dan Heisman

This is a must-read for chess players who already have a background in the basics of the game, and the winning moves in their minds. Looking for Trouble focuses on how to undermine your opponent instead of simply looking to win.

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win – Maria Konnikova

A write-up on must-read poker books describes this title as “one of the best poker books ever”. It’s an interesting story about Maria’s journey from “poker newbie to poker champ within one year”. It’s a great book for anyone interested in starting up a new hobby or skill, such as poker, but doesn’t feel like they can become good enough to consider it seriously.

Artisan Sourdough Bread Made Simple – Emilie Raffa

We’ve all tried to make bread at some point during the pandemic. (And why? Did we think the grocery store wouldn’t stock bread for the next weeks/months/years?) Regardless of your success or possible lack thereof, there’s always a way to improve your bread-baking skills, especially for the mysterious sourdough. This book provides us not only with 60 different bread recipes but also shows us how to start a sourdough starter and feed it properly.

Think Like A Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat – Not a Sour Puss – Pam Johnson-Bennett

Another common venture for many of us during our early pandemic period was the process of going to a shelter and adopting a tiny creature deserving of our love and newfound time at home. Many of us chose to bring home a cat, only to find that it wasn’t quite what we expected. If you have already adopted a bundle of fur or you’re considering doing so, check out Think Like A Cat so you can be ready for the future. (Spoiler: the future contains hairballs.)

Computer Hacking Beginners Guide – Alan T. Norman

No, it’s not quite about teaching you how to hack someone’s computer. This book is more about how hacking works, what type of hacking attacks we should look for, and the types of hackers. It’s a great book that gives some insight into how hacking can affect our world and what should be done about it.

There is absolutely no shortage of books and information available to us nowadays, especially since we can find digital and audiobook formats as well. We hope this list has given you the motivation to jump into something new, or work on a current skill that you’d like to improve.

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