I’d go on to read many of his books (The Star Thrower, All The Strange Hours, The Firmament of Time…what great titles) paying attention to how me made everything seem interesting, mysterious and wonderful simultaneously. He was the first essayist I read, and i soon discovered Emerson, devouring his collections (I’ve read self-reliance a dozen times or more), and wandering my way towards Montaigne, Thoreau, and other classics.In the same line is Leo Buscalia’s Living, Loving and Learning, a book recommended to me while drinking with a greek man I met in the youth hostel near Bannf.
I’d go on to read many of his books (The Star Thrower, All The Strange Hours, The Firmament of Time…
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton is in the same Russellian category for its charmingly written take on the basics of wisdom.
It’s often the first book of philosophy I recommend to people.
In the same pile belongs An Intimate History of Humanity by Zeldin, which made me rethink what a book was, and demonstrated chapter titles don’t have to be so boring all the time. This is the book I wish every technology lover, programmer, startup founder and tech VP would read.
Postman’s Amusing ourselves to death should come with every television set, by law.
In the same college course I read Crazy Wisdom, by Wes Nisker, which demonstrated how insane wisdom seems to the unwise (which i was, or still am).
The combination of these two books changed me forever, and set me on a path paved with the love of wisdom.His books made me realize my lust for using and making technology could not achieve many of the things I wanted out of life.It led me to books like Information Anxiety, The end of patience and Data Smog By Shenk, and on down the line through an honest view of what technology can and can not do.Other favorite novels include Slaughterhouse 5, The Life of Pi, Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451, and The Hobbit.I’m also very fond of George Saunders, and his short story collection Pastorallia, short story collections being a kind of book I typically loathe.He read lots of obscure books, by not well known writers, which liberated me from the shallow waters of bestseller lists. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, By Robert Pirsig. But it has it’s potent charms – it was the first book of philosophy I’d read that was first person and personal, and it left me with new ways to think about thinking about things and the dangers thinking about thinking can bring (I will always remember gumption traps).For this reason I’ve returned to the book many times (and read Lila too, which I enjoyed but for different reasons).Foucault’s Pendulum was the most complicated novel I’d read ever in a single sitting in the mid 90s, and I’ve read it more than once trying to figure out why.Hitchiker’s guide to the galaxy was Monty Python in space, and I devoured the series.Enders Game, the book everyone at CMU was reading in ’92, provided a profound experience similiar to A Separate Peace (“ah ha!now i get the concept of reading for pleasure”), but for more cerebral reasons.