A list of material I've read that has greatly influenced my thinking and worldview.
While many of these are books, I've also included other writing that has impacted me.
All Time Favorites
Seneca, On the Shortness of
If you only read one thing on this page, read this. The piece with perhaps the most influence on my life.
Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.
In my opinion, Hemingway's finest. He touches on life's journey, the nobility in struggling against forces
that you cannot possibly defeat, and our attempt to leave a small mark on the world when ultimately we will all
die and be forgotten.
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye.
When I read this as a teenager, it expressed my itch to make an impact on the world and the angst I felt.
I should revisit as an adult; I've heard this book resonates differently at other stages of life.
Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
My introduction to Zen Buddhism.
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.
Homo Deus. A metahistory of humanity. Most of the concepts were familiar,
nevertheless develops a compelling overarching model of what it means to be human. My main insight from this book
summed up with the Steve Jobs quote: "Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no
smarter than you".
Robert Wright, The Moral Animal.
Evolutionary psychology, explored through the context of Darwin's life. Raised questions for me about
what it means to be human, why we act the way that we do, and whether or not God exits.
K.A. Applegate, Animorphs.
I loved this series as a kid. For children's books, they do a remarkable job of exploring very adult themes:
consciousness, morality, and the impact of war on the human psyche.
Brian K. Vaughan, Y: The Last Man.
Amazing post-apocalyptic graphic novel series that deals with how society functions and collective consciousness.
Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree.
Selfless love? Or an abusive relationship? Pair with The Velveteen Rabbit.
Andy Dunn, The Risk Not
On the Shortness of Life, 2000 years later.
Peter Singer, The
Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle.
Exploring our moral obligations to those in need.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment.
One man's descent into madness and an argument against utilitarianism.
Antilibrary (Up Next)
Graham Greene, The Quiet American
Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
Robert A. Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New
Robert A. Caro, Working
James Fadiman, The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and
Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Relationships (Love & Loss)
Psychology, philosophy, personal development, and relationships. Mark's insight is that all of
these are interrelated; good relationships with others stem from having a solid value system and
a healthy relationship with yourself.
The relationship guru.
Neil Strauss, The Truth.
Is it possible to have all of your needs met by just one person? A memoir about the best way to go about
relationships, love, and raising a family.
Marina Keegan, Cold
Entrepreneurship, Startups & Career
Michael Lewis, The Big Short.
The best way to gain an in-depth understanding of the 2008 financial crisis.
Nassim Taleb, Incerto.
Broadly, how the conventional wisdom for risk and uncertainty in financial systems (and life)
lures us into a false sense of security.
Matt Levine, Money
I have no idea how he writes this newsletter every weekday. Tons of insights.
The finance articles no one else is writing. Start with The
30-Year Mortgage is an Intrinsically Toxic Product.
Kurt Vonnegut, Harrison Bergeron
Haruki Murakami, Kino; Barn
Ernest Hemingway, Hills
Like White Elephants
Trevor Shikaze, Parasite
Ken Liu, Mono No Aware
Richard Connell, The Most
Ted Chiang, Story of
Rafael Zoehler, When I'm Gone
John Lanchester, Signal
Steven King, The Long Walk
Shirley Jackson, The
Journalism & Essays
Additional blogs (not listed above) that have helped develop my mental models.