Why study philosophy? Because it teaches us the mother of all skills – curiosity. We ask ourselves deceptively simple questions like what is the purpose of life, or what really is knowledge. Unfortunately, the mart of economic strife and gain that we are all entangled into, often doesn’t allow us the luxury to stand and think. Einstein said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious”.
More practically, Philosophy teaches us skills like critical thinking, logical thinking, problem solving etc, which are all transferable to the corporate world.
Why study Literature? A standard question posed especially by engineering and management students. And my standard answer: because good literature is a narrative of life. In vivid, imaginative and creative ways, it helps us experience many lives. We understand emotions (wouldn’t the world be very drab if everything was just logical?), understand each other, and learn different perspectives. This empathy is a core skill in corporate world too. Plus, it teaches us creativity, maturity, and, of course, better communication. The Ethos, Logos and Pathos involved in influencing others. And getting our point across in an inspiring yet fun way. Literature tells us that Truth can also be beautiful!
Why study History? History, after all, is our own story. How did we reach where we are today and what challenges we faced. By appreciating it, we hopefully become better prepared to face the future and not repeat past mistakes.
History is also a study of ideas, different cultures, choices and societal change. These are all immensely relevant in the corporate world.
Unfortunately, the way it is taught in schools – with a penchant for cramming dates and events – is sad and most students learn to hate the subject. I am hoping the books below will rekindle the curiosity of the child inside us.