Very Short Introductions
a pretty painless way to learn a little about a lot
The Very Short Introductions (VSI) website starts off with a cogent sentence about the featured books:
"Combining authority with wit, accessibility and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. They are written by experts for the newcomer, demonstrating the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in 100 key subjects: from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam."
What more does one need?!?!?
Very Short Introductions is a series from the Oxford University Press at the University of Oxford in England. Subjects include some of what you would expect from such a prestigious institution, such as all the major world's religions and wisdom traditions, the classical philosophers, and the world's political systems. But also in VSI's "basic 100" are volumes about drugs, world music, architecture, terrorism, intelligence, animal rights, cryptography, and globalization.
Recent VSI volumes included ethics, atheism, linguistics, myth, schizophrenia, the Cold War, and the history of astronomy.
The list continues to evolve. "Forthcoming" publications will cover topics such as hieroglyphs, Hiroshima, jazz, international relations, dreaming and sleep, design, chaos, medical ethics, Nelson Mandela, perception, photography, and citizenship.
As an added bonus, book jackets for the VSI series are based on wonderful original paintings by Philip Atkins, who can be contacted through an email link on the VSI homepage.