One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson - concise and pithy while containing lots of useful pointers
The Divine Center by Steven Covey - the spiritual grounding that informs his later more secular books and much more interesting if you don't mind religious thought mixed in with your motivation
The Foundation trilogy by Issac Asimov - Caused a huge detour in my life. Immersed myself in speculative fiction for decades due to the brain-quake caused by this material.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein - A detour of a different sort. Great introduction to alternative modes of thought to my uncultured religious teen mind.
LDS/Christian Scriptures - regardless of your belief level, the ideas/thoughts/stories/literature encompassed in scripture is enriching to the mind
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein - A classic SciFi novel that digs deep on relationships, politics, and religion. Like a lot of old SciFi, it's filled with blatant sexism. If you can look past that, it has a lot of great lessons.
Island by Aldous Huxley - a beautiful look at alternative societal structures, psychedelics, and the cruelty of the western world overcoming sacred places.
The squel "Lila" is also quite profound.
Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut
Pavarotti: My World - Luciano Pavarotti, William Wright
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World - Jack Weatherford
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson) - awesome analytics book about wealth source
The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith) - classic book about source of money and economic processes
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
How To Win Friends and Influence People
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu is a classic text on harmony and humility.
Subtle art of not giving a fuck,
The art of happiness
But the one book I always keep...The boy scout handbook
Vagabonding - Rolf Potts (It's easy and cheap to move around the world these days)
As grown up, on now to rule the world:
More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby
Books by Vernor Vinge made me a liberal (european meaning, pro free markets and individual responsibility).
Ken McLeod made me aware of the rich history and valid points of communism and socialism, even when I'm still not a fan.
Iain M. Banks showed me that an AI-enabled future doesn't have to be a distopia. He also made me aware of how pale and boring the often cited "Star Trek Utopia" really is.
I read it and I found that without the faith part (which makes it a book important to you, no matter if you like it or not) it reads as a story like others. I am not trying to be critical in any way, it is that I failed to find really deep thoughts inside, which would make me think after reading it.
It is full of stories which have a moral, not different from many others and not thought provoquing (of course this is my personal opinion) - as a casual reader I be glad to be pointed to such parts there.
Now I am much older and as an atheist, I wish I hadn't wasted my time on such simplistic themes written by simplistic men. There are much deeper and more profound books also written by man, and far more complex.
The Black Swan by Nicholas Nassim Taleb
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
“The Lucifer principle” introduced me to evolution and evo-psych thinking.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character) by Richard Feynman
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
So good they can't ignore you - the one career self-management book you should read
The essays of Waren Buffet - how to approach investment
(Relays a bunch of super interesting experiments done on 'split brain' patients with important consequences for normally functioning brains. Not at all gimmicky, doesn't read like a popularization—I think my dad said he read it in grad school for cognitive psych. But I read it as a teenager so it's generally accessible, and it'll likely change the way you think about people and their brains.)
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions - Thomas S. Kuhn
(Looks at large scale trends in scientific progress [as well as looking more closely at the notion of 'progress' in this context]. Probably the most important features he extracts have to do with distinct phases that scientific work can typically be classified under: 'normal' science and 'revolutionary' science. These concepts are easiest to understand in relation to the notion of a 'framework'. In revolutions, we are developing new frameworks and potentially abandoning lots of old work; during normal science, we are elaborating within an established framework. Phrases like 'the dominant paradigm' in this context are due to Kuhn [IIRC he uses 'paradigm' rather than 'framework']. The book isn't so long and his argument for and presentation of these ideas is well worth reading.)
Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - Steven Levy
(Traces the major trends, personalities, and events leading to personal computing as we know it today, starting with IBM mainframes mediated by an IBM employ. Also describes the origin and meaning of the 'hacker ethic'. The hacker ethic, especially as exemplified by early MIT programmers in the book, was hugely influential on how I came to think about programming and creative work generally.)
The Varieties of Religious Experience - William James
(It's largely an attempt at a scientific account of the potential cognitive/emotional impacts of adopting various beliefs, though especially religious/philosophical beliefs. James was an early experimental psychologist and philosopher. The book is mostly a transcription of his Gifford Lecture series of the same name.)
The Philosophy of Physical Science - Sir Arthur Eddington
(Got me thinking about deep issues where we still trip ourselves up by assuming that parts of our own mental makeup are parts of the objective universe instead. Also clarified my understanding of the notions of 'structure' and 'analysis'. Also gives an interesting example of using Group Theory for physics work. Not as scary (or long) as it sounds, though it takes some work.)
Also: Three Scientist's and their Gods, Metamagical Themas, The Society of Mind, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, Chaos: Making a New Science, and Darwin's Dangerous Idea.
I read a lot of everything I can find but always get back to these.
crime and punishment - fyodor dostoevsky
the trial - franz kafka
catch-22 - joseph heller
how to win friends and influence people - dale carnegie
mindset: the new psychology of success - carol dweck
I really enjoy novels a lot more than self-help and business books, but lately everything I read is about some business concept or backstory.
The War of Art - Steven Pressfield
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman
Behave - Robert Sapolsky.
Gene: An Intimate History - Siddhartha Mukherjee
Lord of the Rings
The Master and Margarita
Gawain and the Green Knight
I have the english translation by Burgin and O'Connor, which is excellent. https://www.amazon.com/Master-Margarita-Mikhail-Bulgakov/dp/...
Ok, I'll have to read this version too then (only know a german one so far). And probably learn russian.