Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Those Are Some Good Books, Right There

I was wondering if there were some sort of definitive list of important books to read. I figured that Google would yield more than a few. But the one that came up first, and over and over, was Martin Seymour-Smiths "100 Most Influential Books Ever Written." I copied this chronological version from interleaves and have marked in bold all of the things I've read so far. (I've read selections and excerpts from others, marked with an asterisk. I mean, who hasn't read some Shakespeare?) Considering that I read most of it at least 20 years ago, I can see I've been wasting a lot of time. I was a bit surprised to not see The Art of War on the list.
  1. The I Ching
  2. The Old Testament
  3. The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer
  4. The Upanishads*
  5. The Way and Its Power, Lao-tzu
  6. The Avesta
  7. Analects, Confucius*
  8. History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
  9. Works, Hippocrates*
  10. Works, Aristotle*
  11. History, Herodotus*
  12. The Republic, Plato
  13. Elements, Euclid
  14. The Dhammapada
  15. Aeneid, Virgil
  16. On the Nature of Reality, Lucretius
  17. Allegorical Expositions of the Holy Laws, Philo of Alexandria
  18. The New Testament
  19. Lives, Plutarch
  20. Annals, from the Death of the Divine Augustus, Cornelius Tacitus
  21. The Gospel of Truth
  22. Meditations, Marcus Aurelius*
  23. Outlines of Pyrrhonism, Sextus Empiricus
  24. Enneads, Plotinus
  25. Confessions, Augustine of Hippo
  26. The Koran*
  27. Guide for the Perplexed, Moses Maimonides
  28. The Kabbalah*
  29. Summa Theologicae, Thomas Aquinas*
  30. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri*
  31. In Praise of Folly, Desiderius Erasmus
  32. The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli*
  33. On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Martin Luther
  34. Gargantua and Pantagruel, François Rabelais
  35. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin
  36. On the Revolution of the Celestial Orbs, Nicolaus Copernicus
  37. Essays, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
  38. Don Quixote, Parts I and II, Miguel de Cervantes
  39. The Harmony of the World, Johannes Kepler
  40. Novum Organum, Francis Bacon
  41. The First Folio [Works], William Shakespeare*
  42. Dialogue Concerning Two New Chief World Systems, Galileo Galilei
  43. Discourse on Method, René Descartes
  44. Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes*
  45. Works, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz*
  46. Pensées, Blaise Pascal
  47. Ethics, Baruch de Spinoza*
  48. Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan
  49. Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac Newton
  50. Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke
  51. The Principles of Human Knowledge, George Berkeley
  52. The New Science, Giambattista Vico
  53. A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume
  54. The Encyclopedia, Denis Diderot, ed.
  55. A Dictionary of the English Language, Samuel Johnson
  56. Candide, François-Marie de Voltaire
  57. Common Sense, Thomas Paine*
  58. An Enquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith
  59. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon
  60. Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant
  61. Confessions, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  62. Reflections on the Revolution in France, Edmund Burke
  63. Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft
  64. An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, William Godwin
  65. An Essay on the Principle of Population, Thomas Robert Malthus
  66. Phenomenology of Spirit, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel*
  67. The World as Will and Idea, Arthur Schopenhauer
  68. Course in the Positivist Philosophy, Auguste Comte
  69. On War, Carl Marie von Clausewitz
  70. Either/Or, Søren Kierkegaard
  71. The Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels*
  72. "Civil Disobedience," Henry David Thoreau*
  73. The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin*
  74. On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
  75. First Principles, Herbert Spencer
  76. "Experiments with Plant Hybrids," Gregor Mendel
  77. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  78. Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, James Clerk Maxwell
  79. Thus Spake Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
  80. The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud
  81. Pragmatism, William James
  82. Relativity, Albert Einstein
  83. The Mind and Society, Vilfredo Pareto
  84. Psychological Types, Carl Gustav Jung
  85. I and Thou, Martin Buber
  86. The Trial, Franz Kafka
  87. The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Karl Popper
  88. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, John Maynard Keynes*
  89. Being and Nothingness, Jean-Paul Sartre
  90. The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich von Hayek
  91. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
  92. Cybernetics, Norbert Wiener
  93. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  94. Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff
  95. Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein
  96. Syntactic Structures, Noam Chomsky
  97. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, T. S. Kuhn
  98. The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan
  99. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung [The Little Red Book], Mao Zedong
  100. Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B. F. Skinner

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