Five books everyone should read before they die... by Bruce Hood
1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
As a young boy, war movies often portrayed the enemy as evil; this was the first portrayal of trench warfare that was harrowing from a German perspective.
2. 1984 by George Orwell
A terrifying vision of a totalitarian future where the individual is controlled by the state. Still remarkably valid.
3. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
This book transformed my teenage mind. Suddenly much of my behaviour and erratic thoughts made perfect sense from a gene’s eye view.
4. The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker
This book was the inspiration for me to become a popular science writer. Pinker demonstrated that academics could write books that made deep ideas accessible.
5. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
I read this when I was in the US. I grew up in Scotland and so recognised the grittiness of characters like Begbie.
The Self Illusion: Why There is No ‘You’ Inside Your Head by Bruce Hood is out now in paperback (Constable, £12.99)