GOOD

A great book accomplishes many things: It should tell a powerful story, make you reflect on the subject at hand and maybe even start a thoughtful conversation with other people in our lives. Around the holidays, especially leading up to the New Year, is a great time to kick back and treat our minds to some thoughtful and engaging prose. Modern American literature is rich with a diverse set of stories from men and women across the political spectrum, sharing their takes on the art of living. And if you want to go deeper, our shared human history has a nearly endless abundance of tomes on how to live our best lives, in the most meaningful sense that transcends frivolous trends in popular culture.

But a great book, especially one with a socially conscious edge, should challenge our ways of thinking, not just reaffirm that which we already know and believe. So, here is a list of 8 of our favorite books that meet this criteria. No one will be entirely satisfied by our list, and that's the idea! These books are meant to educate, provoke, inspire and even cause debate. If you're thinking of starting a book club this year, put down the Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and pick up one of these. You'll be thankful for it and can proudly display any one of these on your bookshelf or around the office water cooler.

Keep Reading
Politics

This is How Religion Should Deal with Science

With the Dalai Lama's blessing, a generation of Buddhist monks are learning to balance faith and reason.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

If you spend enough time around Emory University in Atlanta, chances are you’ll see your fair share of Tibetan Buddhist monks. For years, the university has been known for its devotion to the field of Tibetan studies. Affiliated since the early 1990s with the nearby Drepung Loseling Monastery, a spiritual and academic center run by Emory graduate Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, the university has fostered exchanges between students and monks in the Tibetan refugee community in Dharamsala, India, to preserve and learn from Tibetan culture and faith. In 2007, Emory even welcomed the Dalai Lama, head of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism and exiled soul of the Tibetan society, as a Presidential Distinguished Professor. The presence of monks at the school has continued to grow over the last decade, as the school has partnered with the Tibetan community in Dharamsala to develop a program to revolutionize Tibetan Buddhist religious education—by fusing it with the study of Western science, possibly the first major overhaul of the monastic education system in over half a millennium.

Keep Reading
Articles

The Dalai Lama's To-Do List: Meditate, Listen to the BBC, Skip Dinner

The Dalai Lama, His Holiness has a pretty idyllic to-do list for his days.

Ever wonder what a typical day for the Dalai Lama, His Holiness, looks like? Though the Tibetan spiritual leader is quite busy traveling around the world on peace missions, lecturing, and doing interviews, when at home in Dharamsala, His Holiness has a pretty idyllic to-do list. His schedule consists of eating a vegetarian meal; catching up on the news, studying Buddhist texts, and making time for prayer, exercise, and meditation. It should also be noted that the Dalai Lama is a very early riser, and goes to sleep before most of us have even had dinner (which he skips).

Keep Reading
Articles

Was Obama Right to Meet with the Dalai Lama?

President Obama met with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Thursday. According to The New York Times, the two men discussed...

Keep Reading
Articles