It occurs to me that everyone should maintain a list of “bucket-list” books. Books that are so important that we believe everyone should read. Or maybe this is the wrong term. Maybe this is just a list of books which we found essential to whoever we are today. I’ll get started here.
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance / Lila, by Robert Pirsig
Two books actually. Good college age reading, perhaps for advanced high school. This is an engineer’s bible. Foundations of logic and “truth”
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter
College age. Very tough mathematics. Mind-blowing. The art of bootstrapped complexity.
A new kind of Science, by Stephen Wolfram
If it turns out to be true, the most important mathematical work since Godel’s incompleteness theorem.
Narcissus and Goldmund, by Herman Hesse
One of the great writers of all time. The intellectual life vs. the experiential one. If one every plans to spend time debating capitalism vs. socialism, Democrat vs. Republican, etc, etc. one should also read Magister Ludi, in order to remove forever the fantasy that there could exist a perfect system.
Shogun, by James Clavell
Because aliens really do exist on this planet, and by the end of the book you will partially understand how they think. You’ll also never complain about the dropping of the atom bomb to end WWII.
And many more …