these are some books that i've read and recommend that everyone read. if you're reading via activity pub, this post will be updated eventually, so visit the actual post to read the latest version. these aren't in any particular order, so feel free to read whatever interests you!
tao te ching
the singular most influential book i've ever read. its 77 chapters/pages of prose, so its definitely super short and easy to read. after reading several translations, i recommend stephen mitchell's version, but any translation works well.
read this after tao te ching if you want more of the former.
so good they can't ignore you by cal newport
cal newport's first major book, where he talks about what makes people good at their jobs by examining stars in their field. i read this book when i was thinking about what i wanted to do with my life, and it's shaped a lot of my relationship between me, work, and passions. if you want a small taste of this book in video form, he gave an interesting ~40 minute talk at google quickly going over some of these topics. if you find this video at all interesting, i highly recommend you check out the book!
deep work by cal newport
cal newport's second major book (that i can recall). this time, he talks more about the nature of productivity and flow, and more practical ways to cultivate it in your own life and career. i recommend this book if you're looking into ways to apply the concepts from the first cal newport book, or ways to become more effective in your career, hobbies or just your life.
thinking, fast and slow by daniel kahneman
thinking fast and slow is one of those pop sci books you might've gotten recommended and not really picked up on, but i think its a great introduction into how the human brain makes decisions and plans, as well as practical ways to leverage it to your advantage.
the tipping point: how little things can make a big difference by malcolm gladwell
focusing on the “tipping points” of societal epidemics, malcolm gladwell's book elegantly pinpoints some of the reoccurring traits, but most importantly examines some of the extraordinary key elements that enable trends to spread like they do.
the body keeps score: brain mind and body in the healing of trauma by bessel a. van der kolk
written by some head of trauma research somewhere or something idk, this book really helped me process a lot of the trauma that i had gone through and still affected me. the beginning reads a lot like an interesting psych textbook, while the later half goes more into techniques (the author reallllly loves emdr for some reason). if you even suspect that you have unprocessed trauma or have a passing interest in psychology, i highly highly recommend reading through this book.
the life-changing magic of tidying up: the japanese art of decluttering and organizing by marie kondo
a really delightful guide to tidying up that was like the crystallization of a lot of my attitudes towards stuff and organizing. i highly recommend cause the impact that it can have in your life ripples outward, and i'm still guided by a lot of these principles every day.
calvin and hobbes
all of it, yes. <3 u watterson
the moon is a harsh mistress by robert a. heinlein
this story is a masterpiece that grips you from the beginning to end. a lot of descriptions online like to talk about how it “expresses and discusses libertarian ideals” but as a story contemplating self-governance and what it entails, i feel its only natural that it would philosophically engage with those ideals, and no matter your political leaning, by the end i guarantee you'll also be rooting for the rag-tag group of criminals, tradesmen and revolutionaries that you follow the entire way. the patrician's atlas shrugged
walkaway by cory doctorow
set in the near future, cory doctorow stretches today's potential technologies into a fantastical yet grounded playground for hackers and tinkerers. however, these developments occur in a world of failed capitalism, barren climate change, and mass surveillance that lead to some members abandoning it altogether, dubbing themselves “walkaways”. following one group as they decide to walkaway, walkaway explores a potential post-scarcity economy, and then the eventual revolution and war against the remains of old society that the main characters find themselves embedded in, while also engaging heavily in the associated philosophical dialogs. also has some horny moments!
down and out in the magic kingdom
cory doctorow's first major release, also released under creative commons so its free to download, recommending if you enjoyed walkaway and want more. set in the far future, in a post scarcity and death society, the world runs via a social reputation currency called “Whuffie”. In the midst of the passion fueled projects of society, the main character is suddenly murdered (temporarily) and his life's work subjected to a coup, leading him to try to figure out how and who orchestrated everything after hitting rock bottom.
the martian by andy weir
also a fantastic movie. astronaut stranded on mars and has to work to survive, in extremely near future but very grounded hard scifi.
the robot novels by isaac asimov
the robot novels are connected universe created by isaac asimov, composed of a number of short stories but also 6 books, which i am recommending here. the first one, “i, robot” you may have heard of and is much better than its will-smith-movie counterpart, but also includes several other books. while i recommend them all, “i, robot” and “the positronic man”/“the bicentennial man” (book and original short story, respectively) are more traditional narratives while the rest compose of detective elijah baley and robotic sidekick r. daneel olivaw mysteries. these mysteries are some of my favorite books, due to being incredibly engaging while setting up very interesting worldbuilding. the universe set up here also feeds into isaac asimov's more famous foundation series, except most of the events in the robot novels have since become legend due to the passage of time. however, some characters such as r daneel olivaw may perhaps show up again....
the foundation series by isaac asimov
isaac asimov's seminal work. one of the best works of science fiction in history. go read
some books that i'm currently reading or on my to-read list that might make it on here
being-time: a practitioner's guide to dogen's shobogenzo uji deep nutrition: why your genes need traditional food the back to basics handbook gaia's garden chaos: making a new science (i might've read this before, maybe. information theory is cool) zen mind, beginner's mind hammer's slammers series isaac asimov's utopias lieh-tzu dune (yeah ik its criminal how i haven't finished it)
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