Here is my definitely must read list
I put out a lot of content about books, but it’s always kind of a mess.
This page allows me a single place to display a few books that have changed my perspective about the world in irreversible ways. It’s not really a definitive list of books you are required to read, it’s just my favorites.
They aren’t technical nor are they niche specific, I think they will be useful and enjoyable to everyone who reads. I believe you’ll also find them to be vastly under recommended in my peer groups.
I will generally not ask someone to read self-help and I don’t read many books about how to succeed. I recommend books that tell you how the world and humans work, because that is what will allow you to most effectively navigate your life.
There is no order to these, and I will update this list whenever I feel while keeping it as small as possible.
Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
This book provides a vast picture of humanity and culture we’ve designed for the last 12,000 years. It’s engaging, smart, and objective.
The easiest way to predict the future is to understand where we came from and the trajectories that are in place, this book has such a large scope I think it can really help people to understand both: where we came from and where we are going.
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for the work that created this book. It’s a fantastic insight into just how our brain works, and the logical fallacies our brains are predetermined to fall for. It was very scary to read at first when I realized humans are nowhere near as rational as we think of ourselves.
Incerto – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
My personal favorite writing of all time for sure. I just love the guy’s style.
Incerto is actually 5 books: Fooled by Randomness, Black Swan, Antifragile, Bed of Procrustes, and Skin in the Game. A deep insight into the gap between how risk is incorrectly understood by people and how to live in a world of uncertainty.
The Coddling of the American Mind – Jonathan Haidt, Greg Lukianoff
People have been becoming sissies for a few years now, and college, social media, and parent’s irrational fear of everything are the cause. If you have kids this is a 2x must read. This book addresses some serious problems, and we need to stop raising kids to be pansies.
1984 – George Orwell
A terrifying dystopian account of humanity and government. Although written in 1949 about a future totalitarian government run by “Big Brother” it’s not so much a political account but more a story about humans organize themselves and control the masses. It’s as relevant today as it was 50 years ago and worth the occasional re-read.
Orwell didn’t just create a fictional world, he invented a language the government would use to control the people. He created an entire government and propaganda arm it would use against it’s subjects.
“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
Why wouldn’t you want to learn from the smartest guy of our generation? This book was written in 1988 and it’s a non-technical approach to our universe, the laws that dictate it, and how we know them to be true.
Letters to a Young Contrarian – Christopher Hitchens
Hitch was my first favorite author. He’s brilliant and fearless when he writes, and I’ve read most of his work but this one spoke to me like few others have.
I’ve always felt myself to be a contrarian, I feel deeply compelled to go against the grain in most things in life. This is not often easy. In fact going along with common social norms is far easier, but it can cause internal resentment over time. This book is written as letters from a young adult to Christopher asking for advice on how to deal with life when all the social pressures around him want him to conform.
How do you tell society to fuck off when it goes in a direction you don’t agree with?
How do you deal with the pain that this behavior will inevitably bring?
This book address this sort of questions and for those who feel themselves a contrarian (or just disagreeable) if nothing else it’s comforting just to know there other people out there who relate.