The Library of Ideas

reading listStephen King once said that the key to being a great writer is to read and lot, and this is true for being a great thinker as well. One of the realizations I’ve made as I’ve become more well-read is how often you find that someone has had the same thoughts as you and has put effort into them. This allows you to move more rapidly through terrain.

Originally, I intended for this to be a list focused on philosophy and logic, but as I was putting the list together, I found that I’d be sending you out to read increasingly minute takes on the same thing. For this reason, I decided to split the list into topics, and only post 5 books each topic. This is not exhaustive, but the goal it to maximize the breadth of a field, rather than going into detail.

Table of Contents

Political Science
Epistemology and Logic
Ethics
History
Strategy
Reading People and Persuasion
Mental fortitude
Economics
Business
Biology and Sex
Psychology
Psychological types
Continental European Literature
American Literature
Russian/Soviet Literature
British literature

Political Science

The goal of the political science section is to give the reader a well-rounded introduction to political philosophy and thought.

The Republic” by Plato – Plato’s “The Republic” discusses many of the ideas that modern democracies as based on and is a timeless classic that helps the reader understand why government is as it is in the present day.

“Politics” by Aristotle – If Plato is the foundation, Aristotle is the architect, through 8 books he discusses virtually any topic, from citizenship to education and the role of the individual and the state.

“The Great Political Theories” Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Michael Curtis – The inclusion of these two volumes is in order to introduce and explain in concise terms the myriad of political ideologies that are present in our modern day, covering feudalism to feminism, Michael Curtis offers the reader a quick introduction to the major philosophies of history and the modern day.

The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – The modern political discourse is frequently based on the role of the individual vis-a-vis the collective. The communist manifesto outlines the ideas that modern day collectivists base their beliefs on. By knowing your enemy, you will also know how to defeat him.

On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill – On Liberty is Mill’s treatise on the interaction between citizen and state, applying Utilitarianism and emphasizing liberty as a foundation value of any truly free society.

Epistemology and Logic

Dialogues  by Plato – The Platonic dialogues cover among others the life of Socrates, and the Socratic method of inquiry, a must read for those who seek to question the dogmatic.

Rhetoric by Aristotle – The introduction to Aristotle’s view on rhetoric, covering among others ethos, pathos and logos and their role in discourse. Perhaps the first work in history on influence.

Categories by Aristotle – The work covers Aristotle’s work on structuring and building logical arguments.

Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant – Kant’s critique of the use of pure reason in epistemology. Complimentary work with his Critique of Practical Reason. 

The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Popper – The only truly modern book on the list, covering Popper’s theory on epistemology, including his discussion of verification and falsification.

Ethics

Grounding for the Metaphysics of MoralsImmanuel Kant – This volume outlines Kant’s theory related to duty ethics (deontological ethics) and introduces the concepts of means, ends and the categorical imperative.

Utilitarianism – John Stuart Mill – The work introducing utilitarian philosophy. This is good knowledge to carry with you, as it forms the foundation of most thinking regarding “big picture” ethics, such as the minority vs. the minority in a democracy. Whether collective happiness is more important than individual happiness and a range of other topics.

Ethics – Baruch de Spinoza – This volume covers a varying range of ethical issues, from universalism, objective duty ethics, and consequentialism. It adocates a variant on humanism, rather than objective carved in stone moral doctrine. 

Beyond Good and Evil – Friedrich Nietzsche – The first book on ethics that it was my pleasure to read, Nietzsche’s goal is to push moral philosophy and ethics forward from the position of “Good and Evil” that has been the center of such debates for a millennia.

History

A History of the English Speaking Peoples by Sir. Winston Churchill – The volumes of work put down by Sir. Churchill to cover the history of the English speaking people. A highly relevant book as much of modern world is shaped by the remnants of the British Empire’s values.

Europe: A History by Norman Davies – Europe as a continent has shaped much of the modern world, being the cradle of the ideas that formed the United States of America. The birthplace of much modern philosophy, science, innovation and progress.

History: The Ancient Civilizations That Defined History by Roman Collins – From the past one shall know the future, by reading of great civilizations, you may learn the patterns that lead to their rise and their fall.

A history of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell – This may belong in the philosopy section, but Earl Russell’s seminal work on the history of Philosophy is perhaps the best introductory text to the topic. Including both the philosophy that arose, and the society that spawned it.

Strategy

The Art of War by Sun Tzu – The Art of War, perhaps the first work on warfare strategy in human history, still holds lessons that the modern Renaissance man need be aware of, both to motivate your fellow combatants and demotivate your enemy.

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – Machiavelli wrote the first practical guide to power with this work, illustrated by tales from history. A work so influential that “Machiavellianism” and a “Machiavellian” have entered popular tongue as a term for a cunning, amoral strategist of power.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene – Greene’s work draws on Machiavelli and on history to illustrate timeless principles for obtaining power and influence. The work is very descriptive rather than prescriptive seeking to give the reader general principles that must adapt to a situation, rather than concrete advice and a blueprint.

Reading People and Persuasion

What every body is saying by Joe Navarro – A lesson in how to read body language by former FBI profiler Joe Navarro, covering anything from posture, hand motions, and legs.

Emotions Revealed by Paul Ekman – A classic work on micro-expressions and reading facial expressions, Ekman covers the emotions in addition to how they manifest both in the long and short term. Highly complimentary with Joe Navarro.

Influence by Dr. Robert Caldini – Caldini’s classic on how to persuade people utilizing a range of tools, from cognitive bias, to logical fallacies, so that you are able to tell someone to go to hell, yet make them look forward to the trip.

Mental Fortitude

Letters by Seneca the younger – Covering Stoic philosophy, and along with Marcus Aurelius one of the works that are easily accessible.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – Teaching a man how to be a man through gaining control of his emotions, and reactions to the world, and transforming them into action.

Economics

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith – The foundation for capitalism and modern economics by Scottish philosopher Adam Smith. In this book Smith introduces concepts such as inflation, supply & demand and many others that form the core of any logical economics curriculum.

Das Kapital by Karl Marx – In this work Marx outlines communism’s view on resource management. Any man should have a knowledge of how a collectivist thinks and Marx is hte foundation for any collectivist, whether they are away of it or not.

The Road to Serfdom by F.A Hayek – A critique of Marxism and socialist resource management from the school of Austrian economics. The road to serfdom outlines how a society will decline if socialism is selected as the primary resource management system.

Capitalism and freedom by Milton Friedman – Friedman’s explanation for why capitalism is the most utilitarian approach to resource management if freedom is a desired quality within a society.

The General theory of employment, interest and money by John Maynard Keynes – Keynesian policies came into vogue during/after the depression, and many government adopt them with mixed or even destructive results today, if you ever wonder why governments are running the printing press on high, Keynes is that reason.

Business

Competitive advantage by Michael Porter – Dr. Porter outlines the abstract reasoning behind why some companies fail and others prosper, backed by empirical studies of hundreds of companies, this offers good heuristics for any budding entrepreneur.

The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning by Henry Mintzberg – Professor Mintzberg outlines why planned strategy in a dyniamic world will be less effective than a more flexible approach he themes “emergent strategy”.

The Firm, the market and the law by R.H. Coase – The introduction of “The Firm” concept, this outlines the role of the firm and those functions that it depend on, namely the market and governance.

The Theory of Economic Development: An Inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest, and the Business Cycle by Joseph Schumpeter – The book that introduces the concept of “Creative Destruction” a concept that is more relevant now than ever before, seeing that technology is leaping forwards at an unprecedented pace.

Common stocks and uncommon profits by Philip A. Fischer – A very good introduction to investing in common stock both from a perspective of how to analyze companies, but also the downsides and “tricks” one can use to beat the market.

Biology and Sex

The Red Queen: Sex and the evolution of human nature by Matt Ridley – The Red Queen was the first book I ever read on evolutionary psychology/biology. Today it’s still one of the books I find myself referring back in when analyzing sexual dynamics. A great fusing of biology with psychology, translated into human behavior.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins – In The Selfish Gene, Dawkins outlines his theory of biological evolution from the perspective of genes, rather than organisms or groups. Covering such topics as altruism and inclusive fitness, Dawkins also finds the time to coin the term “meme”.

The Rational Male by Rollo Tomassi – Upon my return to the manosphere after a very long absence, this was the first book I read. A elegant and in-depth treatise on sexual relationships, yet also very understandable for someone who is new to the manosphere and Red Pill.

The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker – Tackling the concept of “Tabula Rasa” that humans are born as blank slates, and that our behavior is entirely due to social conditioning that has been prevailing within social science research for 50 or more years. Pinker takes a scalpel to the concept, and from the flames emerges biology yet again as a determinant and important part of why we are who we are.

Psychology

The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious by C.G. Jung – The seminal work that outlines Jungian psychology as the major competitor to Freudian psychology. Offering an overview of Jung’s theory relating to the collective unconscious and the archetypes therein.

A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud – Freud, the father of modern psychology, introduces his view of psychoanalysis, understanding yourself and others through psychoanalysis. The general introduction is a gateway book to other writings within the field, as many terms are first introduced in this book.

Thinking fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – The book by behavioral psychologists and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman outlining system 1 vs 2 two, why humans are prone to errors in thinking and why human beings are not fundamentally logical creatures.

Dangerous personalities by Joe Navarro – Some may question my inclusion of Joe Navarro, a non-Academic into my “must read” list on psychology. However, dangerous personalities surround all of us in our lives. DSM and ICD-10 are useful for professionals engaging with patients over a long period of time in a clinical setting, however are less useful for laypeople, who have fleeting interactions and lack the requisite training. Who better to tell you who to look for, than a guy who is seeking to avoid getting shot or stabbed?

Snakes in Suits by Robert Hare – My reasoning behind including this over Hare’s more famous book, is that most of us do not spend our time around inmates, we spend our time around suits. This book builds on Hare’s earlier work, and makes it more applicable to spotting psychopaths in the workplace.

Psychological Types

Was That Really Me? By Naomi Quenk – Many books have been written on typology, but this is the only one that is focused in its entirety on the inferior function, and how it affects you in your daily life. Rife with stories of how inferior function flare ups affect different types, it is a must read for anyone who truly want to understand what their type does under stress.

Building Blocks of Personality Type by Leona Haas and Mark Hunzinger – My favorite reference work on personality types, covering virtually all well-known authors on the topic, and every topic therein. The functions from dominant and well into the shadow, in addition to the various typology theories and identifying your type.

Personality Type an Owner’s Manual by Leonore Thompson – I found this book recently, and I found that Thompson’s take on the functions and types, is both unique to her and differs somewhat from the standard descriptions. This is a very useful volume for those who seek to confirm their type after having researched extensively.

Continental European Literature

Faust by Goethe

The Inferno by Dante

An enemy of the people by Henrik Ibsen

All the best by Voltaire

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

American Literature

Catcher in the rye by J.D Sallinger

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Soviet and Russian Literature

A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Trial by Franz Kafka

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

British Literature

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Lord of the flies by William Golding

Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde