A list of books that I can remember having an effect on me. Not in any particular order and non-comprehensive. Any book on this list I would suggest and many of these I’ve read a few times over. Welcome to my official book recommendation list.
The story of the buddha from birth to nirvana. An inspirational one to dive into.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Philosophy 101 with an engaging story line.
- The Fountainhead
Capitalism through the career of an architect. This book might make you angry if you’re a socialist.
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Slowness
Life, Love and Sex.
- Einstein’s Dreams
Meditations on time to reflect on. Easy and approachable.
- The Brothers Karamazov
This had a profound effect on me. A story about life from and existentialist played through three brothers: One representing the carnal, the intellectual and the spiritual. Drink lots of coffee through the first hundred pages as dozens of characters are being introduced. Then put your seatbelt on as the epic plays through.
- East Of Eden
Where I first learned about sociopaths although there are many interwoven stories and lessons about life here.
I don’t know why this isn’t as popular as 1984 or Brave New World. This is their predecessor and they both stem from here.
Big Brother is watching you.
- Brave New World
What happens when you can take your daily drug ration to be “happy”
Short stories that make you think, the most notable being “The Library of Babel” which imagines the universe as an infinite library.
- Leaving the Atocha Station
Egotistical poet goes on study abroad.
- The Key
A japanese couple read each others journals.
- Jitterbug Perfume
Robbins is a master sentence crafter. This is my favorite novel of his.
- Bluebeard – Cat’s Cradle – A Man Without a Country
Vonnegut’s tails are approachable, entertaining and work in his life philosophies.
- The World According to Garp
Super weird but engaging saga filled with affairs.
- On the Road
Drug fueled adventure.
- A Confederacy of Dunces
Hilarious and sad.
- The Snow Leopard
A journey trekking through the mountains of Nepal.
Smart and Memorable Humor
- In Persuasion Nation
Imaginative and hilarious works that had my brain buzzing in college. Also check out tenth of december for more current work.
- Letters to Emma Bowlcut
A quirky epistolary with poetic sentences and ideas.
- Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs
Opinionated and modern social commentary.
- Man’s Search for Meaning
Life needs meaning. Humans can survive through almost anything if they have a reason.
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
How this disciplined man become so prolific.
- The Tao of Pooh
Taoism 101. Let yourself be yourself.
- Power of Myth
The structure behind the stories that we model our lives after.
The art of long-term travel.
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
This book can be corny at times but I remember it being a solid framework for thinking of your life as a story.
Self-help and Interpersonal Skills
This is one of my favorite books of all time. A smart, historical telling of “optimal human experience”. For me, the only essential book on the subject of “happiness”.
- As a Man Thinketh
Published in 1903 and stands the test of time. Another key book for understanding mind and life.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
The standard for interpersonal skills.
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Building a foundation of your life around values rather than on sand.
- Think and Grow Rich
Based on 20 years of research. Your mind is a beast.
- Paradox of Choice
More choices aren’t always better. I completely changed how I make everyday decisions after reading this.
- The Power of Habit
The systems that run silently through us everyday.
- The Geography of Bliss
A journey through the happiest and saddest countries of the world.
Digging Deeper With Psychology
- Walden Two
Behaviorism seen through a utopian society.
- Man and His symbols
An escavation into the hidden world of the unconscious.
- Games People Play
The systems behind how we communicate with each other.
- I’m OK – You’re OK
How we view our well being and relate it to the well being of others.
A little bit new-agey, but still smart. A guideline to finding your unique gift.
Light Reading on Creativity
- Steal Like An Artist
Finding your voice comes from curation.
- 101 things I learned in Art School
A coffee table book to skim you through art school.
- The Greatest Salesman in the World
The philosophy of success in salesmanship articulated in 10 principles/ “scrolls”.
- The Founder’s Dilemmas
An academic look at the pitfalls and psychology behind startups.
Shortcuts to success and how they work.
- Little Bets
Innovation through side projects.
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
Branding 101 through the experiences of large multinationals.
- Built To Sell
Written as a parable comparing an agency model to a product model. I only wish I had read this earlier when I was a consultant.
- The Boron Letters
Copywriting 101 written by Halbert while in prison as letters to his son.
- The 4-Hour Workweek
Are you overworking as a way to hide from something? How to match the life you want with the income you need for it, then cut the fat.
- Work the system
Running your business through repeatable systems.
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Real estate 101 for me.
- The Icarus Deception
Inspiring pick me up that encourages you to make art and reach higher.
Starting Your Career
- So Good they Can’t Ignore you
Stop trying to find your passion. Build a skill set and let it get you there.
Becoming priceless in your organization.
For Teenagers/Easy Reading
- The Giver
The first book that blew my mind as a teenager. Also recommended for foreign language learning. I’m reading it in spanish.
- The Alchemist
Popular and simply written journey made to inspire.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- Redwall series
Middle school fantasy land.