Must-read Books (a definitive list)

Nascimento

Ostrich
Gold Member
I know there are plenty of book threads, but I'd like to make one on the topic of must-read books.

I'm not talking about the entertainment kind. Though that could be secondary. Primarily, let's talk about books that alter your mindset significantly or change your viewpoint on life in a positive way.

Whenever I have downtime, I'd like to spend it reading something that enhances my life in some way.

Here's two I read recently, with some quick points that come to mind.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big - Scott Adams

- Systems over goals is a great idea
- Develop plenty of skills, even if only moderately, and you'll be set for the future
- Wake up at 4 AM to get ahead

A Guide to the Good Life: Stoic Joy - William Irvine

- Consider everything you have temporary - from material possessions to people - for when you inevitably lose them in life the pain won't sting as much. Added bonus is that you'll cherish that which you'll lose much more while you have it
- Negative visualization--imagine losing what you already have so that you can stop endlessly lusting for more
- Take pride in having the simplest pleasures
- It's not about living with less or being frugal. Rather it's about being able to live with less so that your well-being is not shattered when the going gets rough

What about you guys. What are your must-read books? It would be helpful if you could include a couple of quick pointers as to why you see it as a worthwhile read.
 

Vinny

 
Thanks for these books, I will include them in my list.

Here are the books that changed my attitude in life:

Jeff Colwin - Talent is overrated.
Takes away one big excuse in your life to not do things. Describes that talent is not real. And all is possible.

Dreiser's Trilogy.
Makes you associate with the main character and feel like he feels, changes the perspective of live. I satisfy myself was his attitude, well I believe it is mostly a correct one. And definitely red pill.
 

Grange

Kingfisher
Lots of book shaped how I think, hands down the most relevant to this forum is Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate.
 
The Law by Frederic Bastiat -- a rumination on justice and the state
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt -- a defence of the free market against things like regulations

Both are short enough that you could finish them in one or two sittings. Both have dropped many collective scales from many collective eyes.
 

Vinny

 
TooFineAPoint said:
The Law by Frederic Bastiat -- a rumination on justice and the state
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt -- a defence of the free market against things like regulations

Both are short enough that you could finish them in one or two sittings. Both have dropped many collective scales from many collective eyes.
Was actually also thinking to include this one
Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.

A must read
 
Update: Oops I didn't read the description carefully. Oh well.

The Victims Revolution by Bruce Bawer

Armed with a new sense of mission and moral superiority, the new academic elites simultaneously balkanized and politicized the study of society and culture and wrapped their Gramscian Marxist critiques in an impenetrable jargon that only they could understand. They no longer listened to traditional liberals and held conservatives in utter contempt. Meanwhile, the multicultural dogma spread throughout society, transforming the way people think, speak, and act on a wide range of issues.
I highly recommend reading this book. I've read a lot of books on "social justice" and this is by far the best one. Bawer focuses on colleges and shows the source of what we call "SJWs".

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Christopher Caldwell

Before immigrants could live by European rules, Europeans had to figure out what those rules were. Gordon Brown, in the years before he became Britain’s prime minister, suggested that his countrymen be more explicit about the values and customs that everyone in society ought to respect, no matter what their background. But that was thin gruel, and it was late to make such a suggestion. The old religion-based cultures of Europe performed just the function Brown described until they were questioned in the 1960s and ’70s, in the name of personal liberation and individual autonomy, and then repudiated in the 1980s and ’90s, in the name of making Europe more friendly to minorities. How could Brown now expect immigrants and their children to help revive a culture that natives and their children had done little but snicker at? Especially since there was an alternative source of values that appeared, to many European immigrants, more legitimate, more coherent, and more alive than Europe’s discredited national cultures. That was, of course, Islam.
Great book if you want to know what the hell is going on in Europe and Islam.

El Narco by Ioan Grillo

The Zetas also went abroad for talented killers. They found the most eager mercenaries in Guatemala, former members of the crack Kaibil commandos that tore through rebel villages in the nation’s civil war. The hardened Kaibiles made the Mexican special forces look like Boy Scouts.
First book I read on the Mexican drug war. Extremely informative.

Atrocities: The 100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History by Matthew White

Every now and then, someone will try to connect Aztec sacrifice to the lack of domesticated food animals in pre-Colombian America,* which would have sent the natives scrounging for an alternative source of protein. Small populations could hunt and fish wild animals, but in a region as densely populated as central Mexico, the only large animals in abundance were other people. To get to this protein, the Mexicans needed their gods’ permission to kill and eat their neighbors, so the Aztecs shared the hearts and blood with their gods and got to keep the meat for themselves. 8 This is the most sensible explanation for Aztec sacrifice and also the least popular. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find any authority anywhere who believes this theory.
As a big history reader I LOVE this book. The guy is incredibly thorough. A lot of these kinds of books suffer from a western bias, he covers stuff in India, China, Southeast Asia, South America. Lots of obscure mass killings as well as well known ones like WWII.

The Secret History of Star Wars by Frank Kaminski

Indeed, even Shakespeare could be regarded as a literary thief if originality is the basis for our appraisal. In fact, this is one of the largest misconceptions of the creative process—a misconception usually asserted by those ignorant of the process. Artists take from what they know and what they’ve seen and combine them in new ways, and it is this unique sum of influences that gives us creative variation when they are combined with the particularities of the artist.
Even if you don't like Star Wars you should read this. There's a lot of insights into the creative process. Its hilarious how weird Star Wars originally was before it was polished up. Lucas had a lot of help from his friends which he unfortunately didn't have when he made the Prequels. There's a more recent book that covers the same ground but I recommend this one.

Dispatches from the Peninsula: Six Years in South Korea by Chris Tharp

But why is this? Why does the ratio of really attractive women seem to be much greater in Seoul, than, say, St. Louis? Genes surely play a large part, along with the relatively low-carb diet and non-sedentary lifestyle younger Koreans enjoy. These girls are fit. They’re eating soup, veggies, and fish every day, and not jumping in an SUV every time they need to run to the store. They can be tall or short, skinny and curvy, but you don't see large numbers of really overweight women.
Most of the book isn't like the quote just thought it fit with this forum. Great travelogue from a man who lived in South Korea.
 
Art of the deal -Donald Trump

LOTS of "red-pill" realities, and plenty of solid wisdom as well.

Picked it up because he's running, recommending it because it's a great read.
 

Downunder

Robin
whateverfuckit said:
Art of the deal -Donald Trump

LOTS of "red-pill" realities, and plenty of solid wisdom as well.

Picked it up because he's running, recommending it because it's a great read.
+1 for this as well.
Great words of wisdom and advice.
 

Nascimento

Ostrich
Gold Member
whateverfuckit said:
Art of the deal -Donald Trump

LOTS of "red-pill" realities, and plenty of solid wisdom as well.

Picked it up because he's running, recommending it because it's a great read.
Is the Art of the Deal just as good as Think Big?

I've been reading the latter recently. Maybe I should pick up the former as well.
 

Huey

Kingfisher
A Guide to Rational Living, Albert Ellis
-- A potentially life-changing book if you take the REBT philosophy to heart. The gist of it is: Our beliefs about events, and not the events themselves, are what cause us to experience negative emotions. The Stoics had a profound influence on the conception of REBT so you'll see a overlap (somewhat) between the two philosophies.

The Conquest of Happiness, Bertrand Russell
-- I'm still reading this one but so far it's good. The first half of the book talks about the things that cause us to be unhappy (the chapter on fear of public opinion alone is worth the price of the book) and the second half talks about the causes of happiness.

Essentials of Economics, Faustino Ballve
-- A good, short introduction to the fundamentals of economics. I recommend this before you read H.H's Economics in One Lesson.

Sex and The Single Man, Albert Ellis
-- It's hard to find a copy in good condition but it's a good read. Ellis was one of the pioneers of the sexual revolution in the 60s and he was also a sex therapist before he started doing REBT. He actually received a lot of flak when this book was first published because it had a lot of red pill advice.

Time Will Run Back, Henry Hazlitt
-- Similar to George Orwell's 1984, but more economics-focused. It's a novel about the rediscovery of capitalism in a totalitarian world. It's surprisingly a decent introduction to economics as well.
 

zigZag

Kingfisher
The Way to Will-Power , Henry Hazlitt
Make it Stick, Peter Brown, et Al.
Problem Solving 101 Ken Watabe

Personally these books were the ones i got the most out of. Other than specialized Business and programming books.
 
Nascimento said:
whateverfuckit said:
Art of the deal -Donald Trump

LOTS of "red-pill" realities, and plenty of solid wisdom as well.

Picked it up because he's running, recommending it because it's a great read.
Is the Art of the Deal just as good as Think Big?

I've been reading the latter recently. Maybe I should pick up the former as well.
I'm not sure, I've only read the first 3 chapters so far, but I already plan on getting the rest of his books (minus "Crippled America" and other "POTUS" books....I support him, no need to learn more about his plans)
 

Tex

Kingfisher
Gold Member
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich—Aleksander Solzhenitsyn's classic novel about a single day of hard suffering in the gulag. I'm of the opinion that many truths about the nature of things and human existence are made readily apparent through physically hard, enduring suffering, and this book explores that theme perfectly.

He did that every day, but today was different, Shukhov remembered. A fateful day for Gang 104: would they or wouldn't they be shunted from the workshops they'd been building to a new site, the so-called Sotsgorodok. This Sotsgorodok was a bare field knee-deep in snow, and for a start you'd be digging holes, knocking in fence posts, and stringing barbed wire around them to stop yourself running away.
Tocqueville in Arabia—A great book by a political theorist who spent a significant amount of time teaching in the Middle East. Packed with red pill truths and outright neomasculine assertions, with a succinct insight on the lack of "cultural conventions" dictating male/female interaction (and how that has negative consequences). It also discusses the problems of "softening up" our culture.

In Democracy in America, Tocqueville suggested that the conditions of social equality would soften our hearts and habits; he worried that in the distant future democratic man would feel overwhelmed by even the slightest challenge.

That distant prophecy is now fully upon us, I fear. Almost everywhere we look, the hard lessons of failure are ruled out. In our universities, grades have become so inflated that they are almost meaningless. What, really, can be expected from our children if from the very moment of their birth they have been told that they are "special"?
Heart of Darkness—The classic by Joseph Conrad about one man's journey, as the captain of an ivory trading company's steamboat, into the Congo during the nineteenth century to meet the mysterious Mr. Kurtz. Can't pass this one up. This is the inspiration for Apocalypse Now.

Some fifty miles below the Inner Station we came upon a hut of reeds, an inclined and melancholy pole, with the unrecognizable tatters of what had been a flag of some sort flying from it, and a neatly stacked woodpile. This was unexpected. We came to the bank, and on the stack of firewood found a flat piece of board with some faded pencil-writing on it. When deciphered it said: 'Wood for you. Hurry up. Approach cautiously.' There was a signature, but it was illegible—not Kurtz—a much longer word. 'Hurry up.' Where? Up the river? 'Approach cautiously.' We had not done so. But the warning could not have been meant for the place where it could be only found after approach. Something was wrong above. But what—and how much?
The Plague—A political and philosophical thought experiment that explores a plague outbreak which sets itself on a fictional French Algerian town. This book explores the nature of empathy, absurdity, morality, mortality, and human worth. Written by the brilliant Albert Camus, the French-Algerian philosopher who also spent some time contributing to the resistance movement in Nazi-occupied France.

This misfortune which had come from outside and befallen a whole town did more than inflict on us an unmerited distress with which we might well be indignant. It also incited us to create our own suffering and thus to accept frustration as a natural state. This was one of the tricks the pestilence had of diverting attention and confounding issues.
 

Tex

Kingfisher
Gold Member
Pride male said:
I read Heart of Darkness. It was aiight, but what was so great about it?
The great qualities of the book are how he paints the environment in the Congo and the mystery of an untamed continent from a European perspective. You have to really be engaged in the book in order to see it. Conrad goes out of his way to paint Africa at the time as an exaggerated wasteland full of terror and mystery, and he does this so he can explore the themes of man confronting the worst of the world on that world's terms.

The idea of venturing deep into a mysterious, hostile continent to meet a man living on the fringes of the world lends itself well to the thought experiment in Heart of Darkness—that thought experiment being what happens when you put a man from outside the world (in other words, from industrialized Europe) back into that world to confront basic conflict without his old comforts.

Though a lot of people who read it seem to get lost in the random details about the various trading posts and interior stations and read it as a dude making a business trip in an African colony, which is easy to see.
 

Dallas Winston

Ostrich
Gold Member
The Republic by Plato

Proverbs by Solomon

1984 or Animal Farm

Any accurate biography of Julius Caesar ( I recommend Phillip Freeman's novel paced bio)

Undaunted Courage - the story of Lewis and Clark, another novel paced history book

currently reading The New Penguin History of the World, which I suspect I would consider must reading.

David Deida's writings
 

Hannibal

Ostrich
Gold Member
Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker. This book definitely challenged my views on finance. Basic math time here, if you never want to work another day in your life, you can either make 4 times as much money for five years or spend 1/4 as much for five years and then invest the difference. For most people, the latter option is actually achievable. If you can get used to it, it beats the hell out of a lifetime of wage slavery.

The Millionaire Fastlane. This book is the converse of ERE, it illustrates how to "make it big" and gives you a framework to work with. Very basic rundown of the book is that you work your ass off on a business model, the best ones have leverage (as in worldwide reach), don't depend on human labor, and over time use up less of your time. There are commandments but I don't remember them exactly.
The guy made his millions on a limousine driver referral website where he would find clients to refer to limousine businesses and basically take a finders fee. Over time he figured out how to program the website to run on it's own, at which point a company bought him out for a large sum of money. There's more to the story but that's a pretty good outline.
 
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