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.

hua he ching

very similar to tao te ching, and comes from some oral teachings associated to lao tzu. brian walker's version pairs very nicely with stephen mitchell's version of tao te ching and is as much of a delightful read. if you've already had your fill from tao te ching but want to read more taoist stuff, you can move onto lieh-tzu and perhaps come back to this as a later date


while the ideas of tao te ching might be captivating, it might feel a bit difficult to know how or where to even start translating taoist ideals into your own life. and eva wong's translation of lieh-tzu is an absolutely fantastic way to start! while tao te ching and hua he ching are like incredibly dense diamonds of truths, lieh-tzu provides an intensely straightforward look into what taoism can look like in the joys of everyday life. eva wong really brings this sort of practicality into her translation, and it really feels like you're sitting next to a great man talking about life as he grills some fish for both of you. i really wish this book wasn't as obscure as it seems to be, because it should be an absolute essential for anyone interested in taoism.


read this if you want some nice taoist stories, but it's a bit of a harder read, especially if you're just starting to get into taoist thought. i'd recommend reading this after reading tao te ching, hua hu ching and liet-zhu if you can. otherwise, it provides a lot of fantastical tales that will have you thinking for days to come.


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 anyone is interested in changing or pivoting their career, i automatically recommend this book to them. or at the very least, this interesting ~40 minute talk at google which quickly goes over some of these topics and some common questions. and 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.

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.

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. i haven't read this since a while ago, so maybe my opinion would change if i reread it again, but i remember it being an entertaining read at the very least.

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. like before, i haven't read this in a while, but i do remember enjoying it a lot and it getting me thinking.

the subtle art of not giving a fuck

i thought it was kinda dumb i didn't like it.

atomic habits

i thought this was pretty simple and by and large accurate, but not really that impactful for me. probably could have been shorter maybe


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

the book of five rings 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 dune (yeah ik its criminal how i haven't finished it) peace is every step how to avoid being killed in a warzone joy at work: organizing your professional life spymaster: dai li and the chinese secret service folks, this ain't normal a guide to a good life meditations nonviolent communciation liesure: the basis of culture tao: the watercourse way the tao of pooh zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance fry the brain the thread of dao deepest practice, deepest wisdom stuff goes bad: erlang in anger

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