A book that's simply life-changing. It's an empowering read that reminds the individual of the steps needed to gain and regain the resolve needed to challenge the world in a forthright manner.
A deep knowledge of psychology and narrative intertwine to create one of the most relatable and necessary reads that brings what was previously thought of as mundane under new areas of illumination.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
A thought-provoking book that looks at an archipelago of issues that currently affect humanity and the problems they pose as our species becomes more advanced.
It seeks at once to improve our focus on those issues and also to encourage a deeper understanding of the world we live in — and also how to save it.
A History of Religious Ideas by Mircea Eliade
The first of Eliade's three-volume seminal treatise on the history of religion and its metaphors.
It touches on Paleolithic symbolism, Shamanism, the Vedas, Eleusis, etc. and really bridges the gaps that exist across more or less disparate time periods & cultures.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Decades later, this book is still a fictional but procedural unraveling of Objectivist storytelling that strangely borders on magic realism.
It portrays an interesting paradox of societal exception that can occur (although inflexibly so) when individual success threatens the larger sense of group ideology.
Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols
A book that makes the interesting and intuitive case for the mental benefits of being near to or in water.
From the sea to the rain, water for me has a tremendous healing element to it; if you've similar inclinations then this book is well worth the deep dive (pun intended).
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This is the book that Huxley is most well known for, portraying a future that's not as far-flung from the realm of possibility as one would think.
I think this can be attributed to the effortlessness in which the book frames human interpersonal relations in the larger context of a purely rational value system.
Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness by Rupert Sheldrake, Terence McKenna, Ralph Abraham
A staggeringly astute amalgam of philosophy, mathematics, and biology that's written in the form of a conversational trialogue, captured in print form that expounds on and interpolates between the very fabric of reality and being.
Create Dangerously by Albert Camus
Like much of Camus' work, this book is still acutely relevant decades after it was published. He correctly envisioned what society would turn out to be, and the book reads as a hauntingly beautiful reminder of the role that artits still play in such a society; affecting either its upliftment or its demise.
Dune: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
Humanist and thought-provoking depth in each story arc that spans fictional planets and timeless ways of life. The Butlerian Jihad is a futuristic archetype in-and-of-itself, protracting a dystopian human vs. AI "philosophy" from beginning to end. Easily one of my favorite reads.
Dune: The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson
The Machine Crusade in the Legends of Dune prequel series artfully touches on the life experiences—both brave and treacherous—of the strongest characters across their own human timelines; and further tells of each a most beautiful (and sometimes tragic) story.
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I read this book so long ago I can barely remember it, but in a nutshell it's a touching story that highlights the fragility of the human condition. and even more so that of the human mind.
Food Of The Gods by Terence McKenna
In this compelling book McKenna expounds on the "Stoned Ape" theory surrounding the evolution of human consciousness, and also the dynamic role that psychedelic mushrooms and plants played in health, well-being, and culture across all continents — from antiquity to the present day.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore, Douglas Gillette
Quite the must-read in my opinion for any male wishing to better orient himself on both an individual and interpersonal level.
The book delves into the development, bifurcations, and ultimate expressions of the four male archetypes; and as such it reads uncannily as a self-help (if not self-revelatory) book from one chapter to the next.
Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Marquez
A beautiful book with resounding imagery and personalities that make up a powerfully human story.
As with much of Marquez's work, the entire setting seems almost frozen in time — long enough for deep and unraveling explorations into the very soul of the characters that makes this is a long but climactic read.
If This Is A Man & The Truce by Primo Levi
A profoundly harrowing, poignant, yet analytical recollection of the author's time spent as an Italian Jew in the Birkenau Nazi concentration camp during WWII.
Levi was a chemist by profession but in his many books, essays, and recollections (including this his most famous) he has cemented himself as one of the few authors that can tell the most important story of the 20th century with touching, matter-of-fact realism.
Lyrical And Critical Essays by Albert Camus
This book contains prose so beautiful it borders on the poetic; and Camus was one of the first authors who gave rise to the "lyrical sssay".
One of his masterworks, it's as much a love affair with places he's traveled as it is a love affair with his observations of humanity itself.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
An absolute gem of wisdom, Stoicism and tenets for simple living that focus on strategies for happiness, individuation, honor, and how to approach complex interpersonal relations with others.
With ruminations that range from living simply, to the metaphysics of existence itself, this book is a lengthy but timeless masterpiece of philosophical thought.
Neuromancer by William Gibson
This science fiction novel has paved the way for a proliferation of pop-culture narratives from The Matrix to Altered Carbon to Cyberpunk 2077.
It's a visual masterpiece that becomes unforgettable once you start to follow the protagonist's precarious balancing act performed across the expanses of a dystopian future and the virtual world now described by the term that Gibson first championed: Cyberspace.
Shibumi by Trevanian
I first read Shibumi as a young teenager and while a work of fiction, it cemented the ideals of simple living, an honorable life, pursuits of the self, and the mutability of adventure, pleasure, skills, suffering, and mortality itself. Each time I re-read this book it serves as a yardstick of measure for a balance of modernity and antiquity; and how the importance of that distinction leads to a disciplined life.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A wonderful novel forged by the soul, told with a powerful simplicity that makes for an introspective read.
Coelho's "portable masterwork" provides an ancient wisdom that wraps around what is above all else a beautiful love story.
The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
A classic book on the stratagems of war that's timelessly applicable to business and life. I highly recommend getting the unabridged translation by John Minford (that's written prosaically, and involves the natural world of feudal warfare) instead of the modern rewrite; if only for the literary beauty his version keeps intact.
The Barbaric Yawp by Walt Whitman
No detail is left unnoticed when Whitman describes his surroundings, travels, and insights he has into humanity writ large — into the mundane, the soulful, moments penned frozen in time.
His originality and his extension of metaphor to ends that were considered "fringe" for his time period makes it clear why he's such a celebrated American poet.
The Double by José Saramago
An intriguing book with a very unique style of punctuation that's refreshing and somewhat necessary as the structure of the book makes for quite a long, tense read.
Based on the idea of a doppelganger becoming reality and the immediate consequences that bend and push against the membrane of what it means to be an individual.
The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Bulgakov wrote this in the Soviet era, and the implied narratives of power, hope, fate, and salvation are subtly placed amidst a colorful menagerie of characters and a richness of story that few novels can equal. A spellbinding work of magic realism and political (if not philosophical) metaphor.
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Gibran was one of the first poets I read, and his work resonates with subtlety and gentleness that seems at times otherworldly.
The Prophet is definitely a primer for anyone curious to see the kind of literature that can transcend both ideology and culture.
The Summer of Katya by Trevanian
Trevanian weaves a thrilling storyline around love and loss, set in the Basque countryside where antiquity and authenticity are wrapped in an experiential cloth as vividly colored as the culture that wears it.
The Thirty-Six Stratagems by Peter Taylor
Similar in nature to Sun Tzu's "The Art Of War", this is another ancient strategy text that's a bit more Machiavellian in nature.
It offers great stories that give insight into the type of warfare that took place in the China during the Warring States Period, and the translation by Peter Taylor also includes anecdotes of how these strategies can be applied in daily business and modern life.
Zero To One by Peter Thiel
This is one of the first books on entrepreneurship and startups that I ever read, and it's still in my opinion the absolute best book on the subject to-date.
A great exposition on how monopolies work and the market's reaction and adjustment to them; either with intrinsic accordance, or with the birth of disruption itself.