A continually updated list of my favorite books. You can see a full list of my book ratings on my Goodreads account here. If you want shorter (and free) reads, you can check out this collection of my favorite articles I’ve shared on my newsletter.
A book that very much defined my current philosophy, though perhaps not in the way that the book originally intended. A novel that I would recommend you read and take your own way, as it will be more likely to be rewarding in that manner.
Not a book in the traditional sense, but still a must-read. A bit too edgy for its own good in parts, however it still stands as a testament to how good storytelling should be done.
Don’t let the cheesy title fool you. I prefer referring to the book by its original title, The Lives of the Dead, since I think it is much more revealing of the book’s true theme. This is an insane look at love and loss, honor and treason, heaven and hell, and much more. The only good book I read in high school.
A necessary look into a mostly ignored demographic. Vance’s personal story is immensely interesting in itself and provides a sophisticated backdrop for a discussion on economic class.
Man, I did not know what was going on for a solid 70% of this book. And yet, I managed to learn so much about mathematics, nature, logic, music… a lot of that stuff I still utilize today. The best thing about this book is, in my opinion, the fact that everything only makes sense in the very last chapter (or, at least it did to me. Your mileage may vary?).
This used to be Steve Jobs, but after reading Einstein I think it’s the superior Isaacson book. It’s not really a decision I make based on quality of writing — Isaacson’s research and prose is excellent in both — rather, I just think that Albert Einstein is a better overall role-model than Steve Jobs. So I’d rather people read his book.
What making a company is really like. What leaving a legacy really takes. What an incredible autobiography;
I’m not sure if Knight had this ghostwritten (Update: He did! Shoutouts to J. R. Moehringer.) The final chapter still gives me chills.
This book probably has the most revelations per minute of any book I’ve ever read. Understanding where we’ve been as a species allows so much of everything else to make sense; from economics, sociology, politics, philosophy, and more. Harari does an incredible job of pulling together macro-trends and allowing us to see the full narrative of humankind.
This is the first book by Gawande I’ve read, and I was not disappointed. It also happened to come at a good time in my life (for better or for worse) and help myself understand what’s really important in life, in particular with the end of life.
A lot of content in this book is outdated by this point. However, it does serve as a great overall manual of influence tactics that you can refer back to at your leisure.
I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of what Greene puts in here is full of cheese or otherwise very much smells of renaissance court roleplay, but there are enough valuable tidbits in it that I feel comfortable recommending it. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy the historical examples.
Began having next to zero expectations of this book, ended with it being one of my favorite fiction pieces. A beautiful look into the dangers of obsession.
Almost Isaacson-like, which is quite astounding speaking that the book was written in 1890! It’s not a biography for everyone — there’s a lot more focus on military strategy — but it’s still a fantastic look at one of the greatest men who ever lived.
The essential book on Greek mythology. Poetically written in such a way that really gives these old stories their due.
A really great, sobering look at not just the eviction process, but of American poverty in general.
I remember not liking this book when I first read it, and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps I was expecting an answer for what meaning ought to be. But this isn’t a book about answers — it’s a book of observations.
This is the third Tim Ferriss book I’ve read (after Workweek and Body) and it’s the first I’ve genuinely enjoyed. The bits on learning, cooking, and survival tactics are all interesting and keep up the book in a good pace. A lot of Tim’s writing is genuinely funny, and comes littered with anecdotes of knowledge.
This is the second book recommended by Werner Herzog that I’ve immensely enjoyed (the first one, The Peregrine, isn’t on this list yet since I wanted to re-read it first). I feel like that’s worth mentioning since Herzog’s list is much, much different than any of the other reading lists I’ve seen. I don’t think a single one of Herzog’s books are on anyone else’s list. So the fact that he’s already nailed it twice is quite impressive.
As for the book itself, The Warren Report is the United States commission into the death of John F. Kennedy. Don’t let that fool you — someone clearly had fun writing this book. It reads much more like a detective novel than a legal document, with twist and turns and narrative approach. I would say only the first half of the book (the chapters) are required reading, with the appendix only being there if you want to dive deeper.
I don’t necessarily agree on all of what Mishima says here, but I do believe his approach to fitness as meditation and philosophy is excellent. It was a real eye opener to me, in finally motivating me to work out regularly and actually enjoy it rather than bemoan it.
If I had to recommend one book on investing, it would be this. Others would recommend The Intelligent Investor but I’d argue that Random Walk has the same principles distilled into it plus several updates and bonuses. If you know nothing about how investing works and would like to learn, this book will get you 90% of the way there.
An incredible look at music from many different angles — from the music itself, to the environment of the music, to the more business-related principles. The book is also beautifully designed, and because of that I’d recommend reading a physical copy if you get the chance.
Honestly shocked I had not put this on here sooner — I could have sworn I did it long ago. A beautiful and heart-wrenching analogy for social isolation and loneliness. Don’t go into it thinking about your assumptions of the book — chances are your assumptions are wrong.
Another late arrival to the list. Read this book twice and could honestly still get more out of it. An excellent primer on the essentials/who’s who of philosophy.
- Atomic Habits, by James Clear
I honestly read most of this book before actually reading it, just given the pure amount of blog posts and summaries available. Still, if there’s one soft self-help book I would recommend, it’s this one. James Clear’s writing is… decent, but it gets the point across and it is definitely the best summary of habit-forming I’ve ever read.
- The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The first book I’ve read from NNT, and likely won’t be the last. I can definitely see some people getting thrown off by Taleb’s writing, but if you don’t mind the sound of an academic occasionally waxing poetic and also showing off to you how much more knowledge he has, then there’s more than enough worthwhile info in here to make it worth reading.