6 Books to Kick Off Post-College Learning

This piece was written by Noodle VP of Operations Adam Shapiro.

You went to a good college. Learned a lot. (Certainly paid a lot.) But did you acquire the entirety of knowledge necessary to be a fully functioning contributor to the betterment of society? (Or at least someone who can contribute to the victory of your pub trivia team?)

No? That's ok! Check out these exceptional compendiums of erudition. These books offer much more than the simple accumulation of trivia; they offer cultural literacy. Refresh knowledge you've forgotten, make new discoveries, and exercise modes of thinking that are ordinarily neglected once our school days are behind us.

With your college education and these books, you'll know everything worth knowing. (And they're way cheaper thangrad school!)

An Incomplete Education

3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't

An Incomplete Education answers thousands of questions with incomparable wit, style, and clarity. American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science, and World History. Get the bottom line on each of these major disciplines, distilled to their essence and served up with consummate flair.

Mental Floss Presents: Condensed Knowledge

A Deliciously Irreverent Guide to Feeling Smart Again

A great magazine cooked up this hearty helping of brain-food. Condensed Knowledge is a mouthwatering mix of intriguing facts, lucid explanations, and mind-blowing theories that will satisfy even the hungriest mind! Ingredients include: 5 tiny nations that get no respect, 4 civilizations nobody remembers, 5 classics written under the influence, 4 things your boss has in common with slime mold, 3 schools of thought that will impress the opposite sex, 4 things Einstein got wrong, 5 classical tunes you know from the movies, 3 famous studies that would be illegal today, 2 religious mysteries solved by chemistry, and much more.

The Lazy Intellectual

Maximum Knowledge, Minimal Effort

It's a small-attention-span world out there, and not everyone's interested in paging through lengthy tomes to deepen their intellect. They want their information. And they want it now. This book is the go-to reference whenever work conversations or bar trivia have you feeling stupid. The academic subjects are broken into digestible pieces. Whether you want an answer to a biology question, or brush up on your Spanish during a commercial break, this book is perfect for people who couldn't bother paying attention the first time.

The Intellectual Devotional
Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Roam Confidently with the Cultured Class

This daily digest of intellectual challenges and learning will arouse curiosity, refresh knowledge, expand horizons, and keep the mind sharp. The collection of 365 short lessons will inspire and invigorate the reader every day of the year. Each daily digest of wisdom is drawn from one of seven fields of knowledge: history, literature, philosophy, mathematics and science, religion, fine arts, and music. Daily readings range from important passages in literature to basic principles of physics, from pivotal events in history to images of famous paintings with accompanying analysis.

The Philosophy Book
Big Ideas Simply Explained

Philosophy doesn't need to be considered too esoteric and academic. The Philosophy Book uses creative graphics and typography to help demystify hard-to-grasp concepts for those who didn't pay attention in their college 101 course. Cut through the haze of misunderstanding, untangle knotty theories, and shed light on abstract concepts. Other books in this series include Psychology, Economics, Politics, and Religions.

An Underground Education
The Unauthorized and Outrageous Supplement to Everything You Thought You Knew about Art, Sex, Business, Crime, Science, Medicine, and Other Fields of Human Knowledge

For the truly well-rounded "intellectual," nothing fascinates more than the subversive, the contrarian, the suppressed, and the bizarre. This captivating tome uncovers the underbelly of the entire spectrum of human knowledge, including endlessly fascinating facts, stories, and images guaranteed to make you laugh, gasp in wonder, and occasionally shudder at the depths of human depravity. It's a fantastically illustrated quasi-encyclopedia that provides alternative takes on art, business, crime, science, medicine, sex (lots of that), and many other facets of human experience.