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According to famed psychologist Howard Gardner, there is not one measure of intelligence, but nine: Spatial, Naturalist, Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Existential, Interpersonal, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Linguistic, and Intra-Personal. This means that if your goal is truly to become smarter, you have to think in broader terms and do more than plow through a few extra crossword puzzles every week—you have to feed every aspect of your intellect. The books below can help make you smarter in each area of intelligence. Embark on a reading journey that’ll make you feel like a genius—or at least more aware of your strengths.

1. Frames of Mind, by Howard Gardner

You might as well start at the source. Gardner’s seminal 1983 book lays out his theory of multiple versions of intelligence in detail. He describes the nine types of intelligence as different ways people process information, and argues that they operate largely independently—and that modern testing and education systems are fatally flawed, because they don’t take this variety into account. It’s a fascinating work that might change how you think about thinking. Read More.

2. Spatial Intelligence by Daniel Ness, Stephen J. Farenga, Salvatore G. Garofalo


No book offers a more comprehensive outline of what, exactly, spatial intelligence is, and why you should be more aware of it. After explaining the natural tendency for all people to interrogate the world through spatial relationships and knowledge, it offers real-world parallels linking spatial skills to professional skills, and demonstrates how developing them can make you more effective and successful. Read More.

3. Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine

Our ability to identify and comprehend other living things has always been essential to our survival, from the first time someone died from eating the wrong berries, to our instinctive reaction to spotting a rabid dog on the street. Naturalistic Intelligence is severely underdeveloped in a large portion of the modern world, insulated as we are from the hunting and farming and wilderness survival that was once essential. Adams and Carwardine’s book focuses on species that are in imminent danger of extinction—an excellent place to start your naturalistic reeducation. Read More.

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