I’m reading one book, per week, in 2018.
The list is below. More explanation after that.
- Sapiens — Yuval Noah Harari. Finished 1/7.
- The Stranger––Albert Camus. Finished 1/10.
- What The Buddha Taught — Theravadin Walpola Rahula. Finished 1/17.
- The Marx-Engels Reader — Robert C. Tucker. “Finished” 1/21¹.
- The Sublime Object of Ideology — Slavoj Zizek ²
- Tetralogue — Timothy Williamson
- Rationality: A-Z––Eliezer Yudkowsky
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X––Malcolm X & Alex Haley
- The Three Pillars of Zen––Philip Kapleau
- Make It Stick––Peter C. Brown
- Extreme Ownership––Jocko Willink
- Thinking, Fast and Slow––Daniel Kahneman
- Capitalism and Freedom––Milton Friedman
- Six Easy Pieces––Richard Feynman
- Justice––Michael Sandal (lecture series)
- The Wealth of Nations––Adam Smith
- Introduction to Modern Climate Change––Andrew Dessler
- A Theory of Justice — John Rawls
- Why We Get Fat––Gary Taubes
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces––Joseph Campbell
- The Wealth and Poverty of Nations––David Landes
- Mindset — Carol Dweck
- Meditations on First Philosophy––René Descartes
- Bad Feminist––Roxane Gay
- The Dream Machine––M. Mitchell Waldrop
- Man’s Search for Meaning––Viktor Frankl
- Anarchy, State, and Utopia — Robert Nozick
- Thinking Strategically––Avinash Dixit & Barry Nalebuff
- A Short History of Nearly Everything––Bill Bryson
- Ego is the Enemy––Ryan Holiday
- How to Win Friends and Influence People––Dale Carnegie
- A Brief History of Time––Stephen Hawking
- Think — Simon Blackburn
- The Three-Body Problem––Liu Cixin
- The Case Against Sugar––Gary Taubes
- The Affluent Society––John Kenneth Galbraith
- The Disappearing Spoon––Sam Kean
- Practical Ethics––Peter Singer
- Development as Freedom––Amartya Sen
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance––Robert Pirsig
- Poor Charlie’s Almanack––Charlie Munger
- Pop Internationalism––Paul Krugman
- Algorithms to Live By––Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths
- The Sociological Imagination––Charles Mills Wright
- Principles––Ray Dalio
- Feminism is For Everybody––bell hooks
- The Armchair Economist––Steven Landsburg
- The Greatest Show on Earth––Richard Dawkins
- Godel, Escher, Bach––Douglas Hofstadter
- Atlas Shrugged––Ayn Rand
- Meditations––Marcus Aurelius
¹ I found the writing here to be a little dry––I’m going to come back to this book throughout the year, but I substituted it with a number of lectures and talks by Richard Wolff, who did a great job of contextualizing Marx’s ideas and applying to them to today’s economic climate. This video is incredible, in particular. It’s probably my favorite lecture/talk I’ve ever watched on YouTube.
² This replaced Prison Notebooks by Antonio Gramsci, which I was unable to find a copy of.
The books are chosen based on a variety of topics that interest me. It’s very intentional that this list goes all over the place. I’ve spent a lot of time reading books on single topics (cognition, productivity, etc), and this year, I wanted to expand my focus to things I just don’t know that much about. For instance, after a long time of casual interest in existentialism and the field of philosophy, I’m excited to actually dig into The Stranger and Meditations on First Philosophy.
I’ve tried to take certain topics and explore them multiple times, but from different angles. For instance, A Theory of Justice and Anarchy, State and Utopia take vastly different positions on political and economic theory–the latter being written in opposition to the former–and so I wanted to approach certain topics from multiple sides, to get a fuller viewpoint.
My intention this year is to read a lot of the primary sources for things that interest me, instead of relying on secondary sources and digestible quotes. It’s hard, because the world isn’t moving that way — information is starting to be valued less if isn’t a soundbite, or if it takes some time to mull over. I can’t fix or stop the systematic move towards this way of learning, but I can make a change personally, with how I consume information.
When this year began, this list was randomized — pretty quickly (January 11th) I decided to start picking in the order that I wanted to read. The order of this list reflects that. There are times where I want to read high-level books (philosophy, history) and when I want to read low-level books (practical advice, mental models). These times aren’t predictable, so the order of this reflects what I wanted to read, and when I wanted to read it.
Did a book from this list pique your interest? Let me know on Twitter.