Books everyone should read
  • I already have the "What are you reading" thread, but I was curious to see what people would actively suggest to read. So here's what I want to know: what books do you deem an absolute must read. You can list off as many books as you'd like, and regardless of however many you choose, please give reasons. Also, I'm counting comic books as well.
    Noobied by 1sloth
  • Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf and Siddharta very spiritual books without being religious 
  • Oooh, this'll be a great thread. Here are some books I happily suggest to read.

    Personal Finance

    'The Millionaire Next Door' by Thomas Stanley - This book interviews millionaires for a peek into their lifestyle. The underlying message is that most are modest and live well below their means. The vanity/ego driven indulgences into materialistic goods are usually never intertwined with self made millionaires who value their money, time and peace of mind. An excellent book to change expectations of wealth and hopefully have people walking away knowing not to keep up with the Joneses (because they're just in absurd amounts of credit card debt to create the illusion of their wealthy life style).

    Anything by John C. Bogle is worth reading as he is probably one of the kings of personal finance having brought index funds into the world. Although not by him, 'The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing' by Taylor Larimore is a great primer into the world of investing. Although this book has the brilliant content, I would then recommend to read 'Enough' by John Bogle to sort of balance it out. So imagine you're reading up on how investing works and the story/worth of index funds and then you get to a concept from the horse's mouth like this... And I'll copy/paste this from my amazon kindle highlights...

    At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history. Heller responds,“Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . enough.” Enough. I was stunned by the simple eloquence of that word—stunned for two reasons: first, because I have been given so much in my own life and, second, because Joseph Heller couldn’t have been more accurate. For a critical element of our society, including many of the wealthiest and most powerful among us, there seems to be no limit today on what enough entails.

    I think this sentiment is stunningly beautiful. I re-read it again and again when I came across this paragraph.

    Some more practical and less wishy-washy theory/philosophy books on personal finance are...

    'Total Money Makeover' by Dave Ramsey. So this one is a very good book on getting out of debt. It offers solid advice, helps you formulate your own plan and then grind your way whilst chomping hard shit to get yourself sorted. A lot of people live above their means on credit cards so this is a great book for that. Or just shit happens and your finances have spiralled out of control so now you've gotta deal with it realistically.

    'The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke' by Suze Orman. Don't be put off by the cover of this book or the Sarah Palin "smile with your top and bottom teeth showing" vibe. This is a good first primer book on money most highschool/university kids should have a read of. Especially those with university debt. It covers all the stuff they should've taught you in school.

    And then this is probably one of the more valuable ones... 'Your Money or Your Life' by Vicki Robin. Money is an emotional thing that is mostly dominated by a sentiment of fear and unknowing. This book helps you have a realistic emotional relationship to money by sobering popular perception and realigning expectations.

    For the most part, live under your means, do things that make you happy, and don't compare people's highlight reels to your own life. They'll eat as much shit as you do; you just don't see it. This fundamentally is the gist of a lot of these books except they go into greater detail to convince your brain of this. As well as adding that a sound financial plan is something along the lines of... 3-6 months emergency savings amassed, all debts snowballed and paid off, then every dollar afterwards into some sort of compound interest fund like some high % savings (higher than inflation rate at minimum, so >3.5%) or into index funds with your own risk set. In between is a try and get as much money as you'd like career path, investing in yourself (your education/abilities/health) is a great non-tangible investment, and to have a budget/financial plan so that you live well within your means and don't even think about money much anymore.


    'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card. A lot of people point to this for game theory but I just think its a fantastic read with how intimate you can get with this prodigy's threads of thought. A thoroughly good book that is well deserving of its acclaim.

    In terms of intimacy, you can't beat 'The Wasp Factory' by Iain Banks. This isn't a happy book but boy is this an experience worth having. Proof that books are magic in how they induct thought and feelings across time and space. This is a the chilling story of a child psychopath and isolation. A horrible tale but a definite must read.

    T.S. Eliot 'Selected Poems' is a very important book to me. I have one at work, one at home and another on my kindle. For every scientific journal or white paper you read, I feel that one has to be reminded that physics / time / space is sometimes best abstracted or expressed like art. In my line of work, there's a very distinct line between engineering and design (with the two camps hating on each other) but I feel that the two should go hand in hand. This book is that and I absolutely adore this. It's also got a wicked nice cover that people love to pick up and ask what this book is.

    'A Wrinkle in Time' by Madeleine L'Engle. This is a school curriculum book for many kids but for me it wasn't. This book is a literary classic and is just bad ass with how it approaches time in a very accessible, gateway into sci fi way. Highly recommend this.

    'Labyrinths' by Jorge Luis Borges. This book is best read while procrastinating from a comp sci degree or something. Fuck me dead this author is a genius born too early. From how beautiful, sweeping and inspiring this is, I just wish that the author could have seen what the world became and how it realised so much. This book is so badass in how its way smarter than me, has so much invented stuff crammed into it, and I feel like the physics of its math is totally believable like a school I hadn't learned yet. Oh man, this book is so badass.

    And now from 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand:

    John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains—and he withdrew his fire—until the day when men withdraw their vultures.

    This is a great book and don't be put off because of all the assholes that try to contort its meaning. Its meaning is basically fuck off, keep it to yourselves and enjoy it quietly without blaring noise to the signal.

    But oh man, this book is so good. Especially in today's tech start up culture where if you get big, you're walking a John Galt/Prometheus path where no matter what, haters will hate and fuck you over so what do you do? OoooOooo~ Just enjoy this book dammit.


    'Everything's Eventual' by Stephen King. I think Stephen King is one of the best living writers and would happily felate his wrinkly, old-man cock with elderly musk even if every fibre of my body screamed no. He's just that brilliant of a wordsmith. So, although he's got 'The Stand' which I wanted to put in the above sci-fi section (its a post-apocalyptic book better than Fallout), I genuinely think that King's master craft are his short stories. So this book, Everything Eventual, is just that; a collection of short stories. What I love about this book is that after every story there's an except/commentary by King and its wonderful seeing his insecurities, his thoughts and own critique/reception to the stories. He explains his thought processes in constructing this and all the background. This book really is an autobiography of the man but way cooler with all the scary short stories.

    Pompous Posh / Literature

    'Emma' by Jane Austen. As much as I love and want to beeeeeeeee Bridget Jones, I think Pride and Prejudice is not as good as Emma. The way Austen starts this book is like, "fuck y'all, you'll not like this but bitches, I do what I want". Both in the Ellen and Eric Cartman voices. This is a great book that many people overlook because they're burnt out on her other ones. This one should be public domain so you can get it for freeee.

    'The Go-Between' by L.P. Hartley. This book is like having George Clooney make sex with your eyes and your mind. A lot of people say that this book has the best opening line. Which is this: "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." Oh yes, sell me your fucking Nespresso Clooney, then take me however you want. I actually think King has the best opening line personally with "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." In the age of trying to write a good tweet, lines like this make me so jelly and feel dumb.


    'Flatland' by Edwin Abbott. This book belongs in sci-fi sections but I'm putting this in my philosophy section of books. Its a book about perception. Best to read in one weekend and make sure you get a copy with the illustrations. This is a very accessible book for its genre and so an excellent one at that.

    'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert Pirsig. Ok so bear with me. Yes, this is the most fan-fucking-tastic motorcycling book ever god damn written that any rider will do a helmet nod and casual wave to. Oh my God this book totally gets it. In the early chapters, Pirsig writes about the beauty of taking the back roads. Not the high ways where everybody is in a straight line rush. But the beautiful, twisting back roads where everybody says hello to each other and the fragrances of the country side hit you. Here on these forgotten roads, there is no time; only peace and the religious act of making sweet beautiful love to the asphalt. Oh man, this author so totally gets it. But this book really is a book about life and philosophy. Its very well worth a read even if you're not a motorcyclist. If you're curious about bikes, long journeys or love doing road trips, this is a great read.

    'One Minute Super Dad' by Jindal MD. My partner and I started reading this together on a plane. We each held half of the book and poked the other when we had completed the open two pages. This is a great book about relationships. Although it starts off about kids and children (and how to be a good dad), by extension it goes on with invaluable advice on harbouring good relationships. Because you've got to lead by example for your kids. This is a great book for anybody who might one day want to or end up having a kid.


    'Everything bad is good for you' by Steven Johnson. If you like video games and NooBTooB, you should read this book. It provides excellent rhetoric for how video games are a good thing in people's lives; beyond the shallow "hand eye coordination" argument. As an avid gamer, I completely agree with this book. Its a great read and hey, we could all do with a bit of affirmation. I actually ended up reading a lot of Johnson's books, culminating with me falling asleep to his London / Sewerage book. The reason for this was because I found out that he used a bit of software called DevonThink to research and compile his notes. And after learning that, I saw exactly how much that software influenced his writing with how he threads things together. I felt like I was reading books by my mate and I genuinely loved this.


    Some sort of physical copy of spiderman. I just feel that everybody needs to have in their mitts at one time or another a copy of spiderman. You flick through the pages feeling that weirdly specific comic book paper GSM, you oggle at all the shitty advertisement pages in between, and then you read through it many times savouring the "comic book-ness" of the whole experience. I can't put this into words very well, but there's nothing quite like the childish wonder of simply having a comic book in your mitts.


    There are so many other books that I love and make a point to keep on my book shelves but these are the more recent ones (with the exception of Johnson) that I want to recommend reading.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
    Huckleberry Finn
    Lord of Light
    Startide Rising
    A Fire Upon the Deep
    Stranger in Strange Land
    Democracy in America
  • I can't really think of any. People should read what they like, for the most part, and hopefully academia and parents will help them fill in the required reading they need. The closest thing I can think of to something people really should read would probably be The Bible or the Quran, but honestly they're not written very well and they're really convoluted at times, and I totally understand someone giving up part way through.

    I think people should try to brush up on history and politics and economics and statistical literacy, but you can do that just as well from journals and magazines as books. Really, the goal should just be to get people reading. Maybe in some far future Earth where there's a human literacy rate of 100% I'd be better supported in laying claim to must reads, but that day is a long way off, and if someone gets their kicks out of smut, then have at it. Reading increases empathy, communication skills, and is one of the most highly correlated skills to good grades and a good job later in life.
  • @GoodEnoughForMe

    Think of it as posting your 5, 10, or however many favorite books and why. I'm honestly using this as a "books I don't have that I must buy." 
  • 1984 by George Orwell

    Prophetic is the most apt way to describe this novel, not just in regards to the politics but the very players being described. Substitute America for Britain and we have a near identical tale going on today. Between wiretapping and metadata, legislation that impedes on multiple amendments, and the varying conflicts happening overseas; analog does not justly describe it. Apathy consume far too many, and more than half of those who are aware of what's going on are simply too complacent. This book is a reminder of the importance of liberty, the dangers of too much oversight, and what we lose when we allow for the Government to abuse its power. It's not a benign institution nor will it ever be.

    The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

    The impending world of Orwell is only possible due to the technological advancements in our society, but far less invasive and dangerous policy is still afoot. We are not entrenched in a world that is completely like 1984, those characters had nothing to hope for; their world was too far gone. However, we are in, and have been part of for quite some time, a world designed by Machiavelli. In this letter Niccolo imparts wisdom, and this wisdom is the blueprint for most Governments in the world today: make your people dependent upon you and also make them fear you. There is a place for Government, but we must always remember that it is power incarnate, completely bereft of morality, and those that use its power will ultimately do what is best for them and them alone if granted the opportunity. 

    Death by Black Hole by Neil Degrasse Tyson

    Literacy is important, but there are varying levels of literacy, and the one most lacking in the world today is scientific literacy. There are many books regarding science, expounding on its concept and explaining how the world (and universe) works. I've not read nearly enough of them and have a long way to go before I'd consider myself even remotely proficient in scientific literacy, but this one definitely a must read. It's smart, educational, funny, charming, and most importantly: it's a great starter book. Some of the other books on varying scientific concepts were very engrossing, but not accessible for the layman; this book however is something anyone can pick up and digest quite easily. I feel this was intentional on the part of Tyson who genuinely wishes to live in a world that is scientifically literate. He wrote an excellent book, and while not the first or last book of its kind that I've read, it is one that has continued my fascination with everything works.

    Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco

    Conspiracy, mystery, occult, the esoteric, romance, history, and so much more. This novel is full, but never once feels bloated or overwritten. Every piece of information being conveyed is enticing and makes you want to know more, read more, and be more. It's a book so well researched that you start believing in the very fiction being presented before your very eyes, and that places you in the exact same spot of your main characters. It made me want to be a better person, and not because of message it was trying to convey, but rather because of how inept and mentally deficient it made me feel. No matter what I thought I knew, the book simply new more, and that's a challenge I'm willing to face.

    End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

    Asimov was one of the, if not the most prolific science fiction writers of his day, so it's quite difficult to narrow his work down to a singular book, but this is the one I chose. There is so much to choose from between his robot stories, Foundation series, and even his non-fiction books. Alas, nothing compares to "End of Eternity." Simply it's a book on love, life, and humanity itself. It's one of the best time travel stories I've ever read, and also the greatest argument I've read for space travel in any fiction book to date. It's also the novel that Asimov used to coincide all his other fiction and create one interconnected Universe. This is something many writers attempt to do, and while not perfectly done, Asimov truly makes a valiant attempt here; unquestionably one of, if not his best work.

    Hamlet by William Shakespeare

    This was probably my introduction to the concept of existentialism. I initially read this because my honors English class demanded that students read at least 1 piece of classic literature a quarter. I found a collection that contained Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear; stormed through Hamlet in a single evening and then finished the other two over the course of a weekend. I could not stop reading Hamlet. Page after page I was enthralled in every character, and ever single event. I loathed his uncle, eagerly awaiting his comeuppance, only to find this story doesn't have a happy ending. Years later I would retread old ground and write my senior paper on the existential nature of Hamlet, reaffirming my love for this work. Who are we, why are we here, and do we have any control over our very existence? Are we simply peons that envision free will but are controlled by the fates? Hamlet's crisis is one of the most human experiences we all eventually face.

    Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

    Not a singular book/graphic novel but rather one of the most abrasive and ambitious works in all of comics. 75 total issues that collect the journey of one Jesse Custer, the single greatest thing to grace the comic book medium. He's a man who does everything because he believes it's the right thing to do. He's the stuff John Wayne films are made of, and he knows it. This book is everything: a western, a love story, a religious commentary, American propaganda, a social commentary, a dark comedy, a tale of redemption, political intrigue, and oh so much more. It's gauche, violent, vulgar, and there's a reason for it. It's also tear-jerking, heart warming, and sublime. You don't get comics much better than this. It's something I come back to often, and I'll keep coming back to it until the end of the world.

    Y The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra

    This is in many respects the same plot as Preacher, but with a completely different story and premise. Hell, there's even a reference to Preacher in this series. If Preacher is the journey of Jess Custer, then this is the journey of Yorick Brown: the last man on Earth. He's a real nerds nerd. He's book smart, but lacks any sense of the streets, is weak, and completely useless in any kind of confrontation. This is his story in coming to terms with who he is and how he grows as a person, learning to not only respect women instead of idealizing them, but also learning to respect himself. Like Preacher this book has everything in it. It's a feminist commentary, science fiction, social commentary, thriller, gender commentary, comedy, and a story about love (there's a distinction). It's every bit as good as Preacher, possibly even a little better in regards to how well constructed it is from issue to issue. There's probably no one better at writing single issues in comics than Brian Vaughan, no one. 

    Noobied by 18drawt
  • Basically, I have tried to remove myself from the equation in choosing the following books, keying in on;

    Relative modernity 
    Accessibility (I guess the two dovetail a bit)
    Capability to instruct

    So here goes:

    The Problems of Philosophy, by Bertrand Russel

    Mr. Russel is an unmitigated dick, but he also wrote what is the sort of standard bearer of an introduction to western philosophy. This book is a little older (1912) than I would have liked, but it's still a really good intro to philosophy and modern thought.

    Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond

    Since most of the people on this forum hail from the aforementioned west, I figured this is another good inclusion. It has some issues with broadness of the history it covers, but it's one of the best summations for why the world is how it is today.

    The Signal and the Noise: Why Some Predictions Fail - And Others Don't, by Nate Silver

    If you've heard of Silver, you probably know his story; statistical whizbanger that made a ton of money in online poker, created one of the best (at the time) predictive models for baseball player performance, then went on and basically perfectly predicted everything and everyone in the 2008 and 2012 US elections. This book isn't perfect; particularly its segment on climate science is a letdown, but it's a great intro to thinking about stats smarter, and if nothing else, you can act smarter at dinner parties after having read it.

    The Avatamsaka Sutra

    I'm breaking from the modernity rule here big time, although there are plenty of modern translations of texts like these. I chose this Sutra from the Mahayana tradition because it covers the 10 stages to awakening as a bodhisattva, which sounds funny to western ears but is really just a exultation of wanting to erase suffering in all beings and of not being owned by the pursuit of material goods. 

    Finally, I would like to present possibly an even more important book than any of these, and that is:

    A book written by a woman

    There are plenty of options here. Like sci-fi? There are several collections of women writers, including a great short story one in the last few years. Hao Jingfang and Nnedi Okorafor are a couple that come to mind as fantastic. Dramas? Same. Read books not written by white dudes. Read books from different parts of the world, by different people, with different world views. Read both fiction and non-fiction. Mostly just read.
  • "A book written by a woman"?

    Fairly generic title. I'd give it only 1 star based solely on that. Who's the author? A woman?

    Why should we make a conscious effort to read women? Isn't that a bit sexist? Or are you implying the mythical patriarchy exists here too? Are you also saying that reading ANY book written by ANY woman has the potential to be more important than anything else you listed? Wow, your sexism. It reeks! Despite many of the world's most regarded literature both then and now being written by women? Even in patriarchy shitlord Japan we manage to hold the honor of producing what is thought to be the world's first full length novel and it was written by......a woman. The level of stupid on these forums is mind-boggling.

    My list of books people should read is:

    Whatever appeals to you, by various authors. If you keep an open mind instead of staying in your comfort zone and confirming your bias, you'll learn a lot, and your natural curiosity will lead you to the good stuff. If you can't challenge your own thinking or beliefs, you are damned to be a member of the drooling masses forever, and you'll read as appropriate. Make your choice and own it.

    Be literate, not just able to read. Be mathematically, economically (don't confuse this with being financially literate, which is also important), and scientifically literate. Understand that the scientific method is just that, a method of inquiry, not a belief system, and not infallible. Read some philosophy. Once you start using your own mind, you can impress at dinner parties with your own thoughts and opinions, rather than regurgitating snippets and quotes from books people have likely heard of but never read. Be careful though, nothing frightens people like the truth.
  • Flibble, everyone here thinks you're the mind bogglingly stupid one, you just have been too dense to realize it. Seriously, just leave these forums if they're not smart enough for someone of your immense knowledge. The MRA brigade loves angry, bitter men. My list had three men and one woman, and you are calling it out for being sexist against men. Apparently, math is not your strong suit.

    Other than that, I thank you for copying my first post in your last two paragraphs. Apparently original ideas are not your strength, either.
  • So when I read the line telling me to read more books by women I just thought ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, and moved on.

    Then I see Dr Flibble is ranting again. and thought, guess that's just how he is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.. and I moved on.

    I wish I didn't see this on here, but I need to just remember you're all assholes (Not really) and I should give not one fuck what you all say.

  • And more on topic, I feel like less is more with this kind of thread. When I see a big list I feel less enthusiastic about the suggestions. Idk why. 
    Think of it like getting a big box of games, most of them get ignored even if they're good. because you only play a few then forget the rest.

    I should have snatched up first reply, but I didn't care to post then.. :P
    My first thought was Hobbit, short, simple, classic. but everyone knows about that. so f that noise.

    My second thought, and real suggestion.
    The Man From St Petersburg: Feliks is interesting af to me. He's a real piece of shit, but he believes in what he's doing. which is f'ing people up and trying to assassinate the Russian prince dude, to stop Russia from helping Britain in WWI. 
    I don't think there's a movie or anything. that's why I put it here.
    Back cover thanks to the googles.

  • My apologies, NewAgeRed.
  • No need to apologize. Hey you know what's interesting (To me). I searched google and found that cat picture. then I saw that BlasianBytch posted it too, on FB. odd.

    And to be on topic. Anyone plan to read a book from this thread yet? I still need to go through and see what's what.
  • @NewAgeRed Yes, pretty much all of all of laphamking's list. @laphamking Read a couple ( not 1984 which is a crime i know ) awesome list though. Really appreciate that.

     Your tastes are very similar to mine, Neil Degrase - Tyson is awesome haven't read any of his books though! I am big into audiobooks atm being illiterate and all. But I need to chill out and have a good read so gonna check out amazon and put some time aside.
    Noobied by 1sloth

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