Reading List

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
Mark Twain

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but surely one can also derive that neither must one judge a man by his book. For what conclusions, truly, can you draw about a man based on the specific book on his nightstand? That he agrees with the author? Certainly not. That he enjoys the book? Possibly, but not absolutely. That he believes everything the author says? A stretch to say the least. We may assume, with facetious generosity, that he knows how to read. And we may assume either that the book is engaging, or that he has a good reason for reading it if it is not. For reading is an activity, which holds underappreciated significance until contrasted with passivities such as watching television. Activities exact a much greater toll on our cognitive, temporal, and physical resources than do passivities. One does not surrender precious currencies without consideration.

And what of his character and dispositions? One glimpse of a reader gives us prima facie evidence that he is the type of person who reads. Which is to say that he values reading, which is to say he values learning. And that’s not nothing. His conspicuous literacy buys him, at the very least, the benefit of our doubt. He may prove us wrong by betraying his disloyalty to the principles of critical thinking and skepticism. But at minimum we owe him the chance to prove us right. And if ever there were an heuristic for critical thinking, reading it is.

May we judge a man by the fact that he has read a certain book? Still, no. The only additional assumption we can make, while giving the reader full faith and credit, is that he understood the book he read and has taken its information into account. We still have no reason to suppose that he agrees with the author, enjoyed the book, or believes everything the author says.

Currently Reading

Draper, Sharon M. Out of My Mind. New York: Atheneum, 2010.

Paine, Lincoln. The Sea & Civilization: A Maritime History of the World. New York: Vintage Books, 2013.

Roskin, Michael G. Countries and Concepts: Politics, Geography, Culture; 16th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2016.

Sousa, David A. and Carol Ann Tomlinson. Differentiation and the Brain: How Neuroscience Supports the Learner-Friendly Classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011.

Woodard, Colin. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down. Read by Lewis Grenville. North Kingstown, RI: BBC Audiobooks America, 2007.

Recommended Books


Hamill, Pete. Why Sinatra Matters. Boston: Little, Brown; 1998.

Jobim, Helena. Antonio Carlos Jobim: An Illuminated Man. New York: Hal Leonard, 2011 (English edition).

Levinson, Peter J. September in the Rain: The Life of Nelson Riddle.
New York: Billboard Books, 2001.

Parker, Matthew. Goldeneye–Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica. Read by Roy McMillan. Ashland, OR: Random House Audiobooks, 2014.

Business, Productivity, & Skills

Duckett, Jon. HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites. Indianapolis: Wiley, 2011.

Graham, Benjamin. The Intelligent Investor. New York: Harper, 2006.

Kaufman, Josh. The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business. London: Portfolio/Penguin, 2010.

Levitin, Daniel J. The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload. London: Dutton/Penguin, 2014.

Thompson, Derek. Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction. London: Penguin, 2017.


Ferguson, Niall. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. New York: Penguin, 2008.


Green, James. Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America. New York: Pantheon, 2006.

Herman, Arthur. How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything In It. New York: MJF Books, 2001.

Kilmeade, Brian, and Don Yaeger. Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History. London: Sentinel/Penguin, 2015.

Koeppel, Gerard. Bond of Union: Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2009.


Aslan, Reza. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. New York: Random House, 2013.

Krugman, Paul. The Conscience of a Liberal. New York: Norton, 2007.

Liu, Eric, and Nick Hanauer. The True Patriot: A Pamphlet. Seattle: Sasquatch Books, 2007.

Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Toronto: Random House, 2018.

Natural Science

Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary Edition. Oxford: Oxford, 2016.

Social Science

Ansari, Aziz. Modern Romance. London: Penguin, 2015.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: Norton, 1997.

Stephen, Dubner J., and Stephen Levitt. Freakonomics: The Hidden Side of Everything. New York: William Morrow, 2005.

Stephen, Dubner J., and Stephen Levitt. Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. New York: William Morrow, 2009.

Gilbert, Daniel. Stumbling Upon Happiness. New York: Knopf, 2006.

Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Boston: Little, Brown; 2000.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Boston: Little, Brown; 2005.

Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: The Story of Success. Boston: Little, Brown; 2008.

Gladwell, Malcolm. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures. Boston: Little, Brown; 2009.

Gladwell, Malcolm. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Boston: Little, Brown; 2013.


Orwell, George. 1984. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1949.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1945.