Reading to “Save the World”

I’ve been thinking about this subject for the past few days. Originally I was going to write about “The Top 10 Books” one should read if they were interested in “saving the world.”  But I many times found that my list was far too large.  Perhaps it would be easier to mention a “Top Ten” list of authors?  But some of the authors I would be recommending were ones where I only had experience with just a single one of their works – so I couldn’t in good conscience recommend everything, or even a good portion of what a particular author has written if I’ve only read one of their books.

What a dilemma. So I’ve decided to mix it up a bit and totally nix the “Top Ten” idea altogether. The result, I hope, is a reading list that is:  

  1. Somewhat easily understood (nothing terribly technical, avoiding a lot of specialist jargon)
  2. Wide ranging in its scope (Philosophy, Science, Psychology, History, etc)
  3. Compelling and interesting enough to keep one reading without being bored.  

One of the biggest issues for me was to figure out what order I should arrange this list.  Should it be in what I think folks should read first? Or should it be by subject area, so people can choose what they’re most interested in? Or what? I couldn’t decide, and some authors cover multiple subjects. I should also mention that serious criticism can be levelled towards some (all?) of these works, but that for the most part I think the majority of the content and spirit of the works is truthful and helpful to those looking for a reasoned solution to the questions raised by the chaos of today.

The links are to the “Amazon” pages for the various books.  I’m not “pushing” Amazon, I just think it’s handy so you can read a synopsis of each of these books, and also see what other people had to say about them. So here we go in no specific order, on with “The List:”

The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” by Carl Sagan 

Philosophy: Who Needs It?” by Ayn Rand 

Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand” by Leonard Peikoff

The Ominous Parallels” by Leonard Peikoff

A series of four books; “The Masks of God” by Joseph Campbell

Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives” by Alan Bullock

Common Sense” (and other essentials) by Thomas Paine

The Art of Reasoning” by David Kelly (this is a college level textbook with exercises etc.  just FYI)

Cosmos” by Carl Sagan (you really need the hardbound version of this book to get the absolutely stunning visuals)

Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche

Ok, I think that’s probably a year’s worth of reading material for most folks, hehe. I hope you will find these works to be as thought provoking, interesting, and inspirational as I did. 

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