By Abby Jackson 

Grab one, or a few of the books on this list, and get smarter by the time you’ve deplaned.

Flying offers the opportunity to disconnect from the internet — unless you pay for it — and turn your mind off from the constant barrage of phone notifications.

Why not spend that time getting smarter on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn more about.

With that in mind, Business Insider found seven smart books you can finish over the course of a single plane ride. They are short, visually stimulating, or both. For this list we selected an array of lengths, from a 64-page book that’s perfect for your hour-long flight, to a 320-page book that would fit the bill if you fly coast-to-coast.

Below we’ve listed them in order of length, from shortest to longest.

So grab one, or a few, for your next flight, and get smarter by the time you’ve deplaned.

‘Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words’ by Randall Munroe

‘Thing Explainer’ is intentionally short and simple to understand. The 64-page book uses drawings and the 1,000 most common words to give readers simple explanations for different complicated subjects.

Buy it here »

‘We should all be feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

MacArthur Genius Grant winner Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie expanded on a popular TED talk by the same name to write her 64-page book. She provides a modern-day definition of feminism, and explores the sexual politics at work in society today.

Buy it here »

‘The War of Independence’ by John Fiske

Originally published in 1890, this 115-page book provides a historical perspective on the American Revolution 100 years following the war, rather than today’s more than 230 years. It was written by a historian and scholar who graduated from Harvard Law School.

Buy it here »

‘Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations’ by Dan Ariely

This 128-page TED book investigates the nature of motivation and is written by behavioral economist Dan Ariely. The book provides lessons on approaching important choices in one’s own life.

Buy it here »

‘Real Artists Don’t Starve’ by Jeff Goins

This 240-page book explores the competitive benefits of being creative, and opines creative people have a powerful tool that needs to be harnessed.

Buy it here »

‘The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World’s Most Consequential Trivia’ by David McCandless

‘The Visual Miscellaneum’ uses graphs, charts, and illustrations in its 256 pages to help readers make sense of facts and statistics. It covers topics from how long it takes different condiments to spoil to world maps of Internet search terms.

Buy it here »

‘Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics’ by Tim Marshall

“Prisoners of Geography” is 320 pages and uses maps to offer insight into world history, answering everything from Putin’s obsession with Crimea to why the USA became a superpower.

Buy it here »

Originally published at

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