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Updated Book List: Top 50 Book Recommendations


Much thought has gone into this updated book list. I realized during this update that reaching for 100 was forcing concession on my part. Therefore, I offer here a list of 50 books.

My original list was much more personalized. I included numerous titles from the Adventure/Travel genre for example. This is not something I would consider universal reading – it’s not for everyone. Neither did my first list present particularly easy reading; for example, including Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey makes almost every list of must-read books (which I agree with) but let’s me be honest, how many people are actually going to pick up these books.

My approach this time, I think, is more universal, and the categories reflect such. There are some titles that I left out that I might include in a slightly larger list, such as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, which is both I think, a necessary reference book and author to be read.

This time around I purposely stayed away from military, leadership and professional titles; Who Moved My Cheese? and Team of Teams, for example. These would (probably will) make the future list of 100 books I recommend.

All that stated, here we go:

Books I consider necessary reference books (if you’ve ever referred to a ‘catch-22,’ wouldn’t it be prudent or appropriate to have read the book from which the reference is derived?)
  1. Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
  4. The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
  5. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  6. A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
Books that I think are both necessary reference reads, but also authors that need to be read (I’d encourage the exploration of more of these author’s works)
  1. Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
  2. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  3. The Old Man and the Sea – Hemingway
  4. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  6. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Books (and author’s) that Canadians should read (again, I encourage exploring these author’s other works)
  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  2. Vimy – Pierre Berton
  3. A Short History of Canada – Desmond Morton
  4. A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
Books where the author is a necessary reference, but also whose views of the world, society, or humanity are critical
  1. 1984 – George Orwell
  2. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  3. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  4. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  5. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  6. Utopia – Sir Thomas More
  7. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Books that will enlighten or inform or challenge one’s views, perspectives or fears (of our past, present and future)
  1. Rule by Secrecy – Jim Marrs
  2. Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
  3. Confessions of an Economic Hitman – John Perkins
  4. The Next 100 Years – George Friedman
  5. Future Crimes – Marc Goodman
  6. Rise of the Warrior Cop – Radley Balko
  7. Perfect Weapon – David Sanger
  8. A Short History of Progress – Ronald Wright
Books to sate the philosopher in you and thoughts about life, meaning, and purpose (and ethics and values)
  1. Touching the Void – Joe Simpson
  2. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
  3. The Road Less Traveled – M. Scott Peck, M.D.
  4. Meditations – Marcus Aurelius
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
  6. The Republic – Plato
  7. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
  8. The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
  9. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Books that bridge the gap between philosophy and religion (and which both challenge and inform convictions, faith and history)
  1. The Bible
  2. The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
  3. The Heathen’s Guide to World Religions – William Hopper
  4. The Source – James A. Michener
  5. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
Books to inform and caution some of life’s hard realities
  1. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
  2. The Wealthy Barber – David Chilton
  3. The Geography of Bliss – Eric Weiner
  4. The War of Art – Steven Pressfield
And the book I consider, still, the number one book for everyone, at any stage in life (and probably at least once at every stage of life)
  1. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Bonus: What I’m Reading Right Now

  • The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers – Eric Weiner

2 thoughts on “Updated Book List: Top 50 Book Recommendations”

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