Quite generally, the familiar, just because it is familiar, is not cognitively understood. The commonest way in which we deceive either ourselves or others about understanding is by assuming something as familiar, and accepting it on that account; with all its pros and cons, such knowing never gets anywhere, and it knows not why. Subject and object, God, Nature, Understanding, sensibility, and so on, are uncritically taken for granted as familiar, established as valid, and made into fixed points for starting and stopping. While these remain unmoved, the knowing activity goes back and forth between them, thus moving only on their surface.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit §31

Log Off

Behold the superfluous! They are always sick; they vomit their gall and call it a newspaper. They devour each other and cannot even digest themselves.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On The New Idol

Amusing Ourselves to Death - Neil Postman

The Culture of Narcissism - Christopher Lasch

Dialectic of Enlightenment - Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno

Hate Inc. - Matt Taibbi

The Image - Daniel J. Boorstin

Manufacturing Consent - Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

The News - Alain de Botton

Propaganda - Edward Bernays. I recommend the edition that contains an introduction by Mark Crispin Miller.

Propaganda - Jacques Ellul

Public Opinion - Walter Lippman

Simulacra and Simulation - Jean Baudrillard, translated by Sheila Faria Glaser

The Society of the Spectacle - Guy Debord, translated by Ken Knabb

Understanding Media - Marshall McLuhan

History, Memoir

Armed Struggle - Richard English

The Big Machine - Robert Jungk

Big Wonderful Thing - Stephen Harrigan

Desert Solitaire - Edward Abbey

The Global Cold War - Odd Arne Westad

The Half Has Never Been Told - Edward E. Baptist

Inglorious Empire - Shashi Tharoor

The Jakarta Method - Vincent Bevins

The Outlaw Bank - Jonathan Beaty & S.C. Gwynne

A People's Tragedy - Orlando Figes

The Power Broker - Robert A. Caro


Capital, Volume 1 and Gundrisse - Karl Marx. I found it fulfulling to read these in coordination with David Harvey's lectures, linked here for Capital and Gundrisse. I enjoyed the Ben Fowkes translation of Capital and the Martin Nicolaus translation of Gundrisse.

The Iliad - Homer, translated by Robert Fagles

Mediations - Marcus Aurelius, translated by Martin Hammond

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

The Odyssey - Homer. I found both the Emily Wilson and Robert Fagles translations rewarding.

The Prince - Niccolò Machiavelli, translated by George Bull

The Prose Edda - Snorri Sturluson, translated by Jesse L. Byock


The Conspiracy Against the Human Race - Thomas Ligotti

The Affirmation of Life - Bernard Reginster

Friedrich Nietzsche - Julian Young

The Portable Nietzsche and Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist - Walter Kaufmann

Phenomenology of Spirit - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
My personal highlights:

Rick Roderick's lectures

Mental Models

Antifragile - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Crowds and Power - Elias Canetti

Future Shock - Alvin Toffler


Deep Work - Cal Newport

Your Brain at Work - David Rock


The Cost of Loyalty - Tim Bakken

Lying to Ourselves - U.S. Strategic Studies Institute

The Manager's Path - Camille Fournier

Turn the Ship Around! - L. David Marquet

Brian Cantrill's Software Values Trilogy

Gitlab's writeup on directly responsible individuals (DRIs)


The Art of Rhetoric - Aristotle, translated by Robin Waterfield

Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric - Ward Farnsworth

Making Your Case - Antonin Scalia and Bryan A. Garner

Genre Fiction

Recommendations below include all sequels, if applicable.

Children of Time - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Dune - Frank Herbert. The first installment is a fulfilling standalone experience, and if you want more time in the world everything through Chapterhouse: Dune is worthwhile. Skip the Brian Herbert additions.

Eisenhorn - Dan Abnett

Leviathan Wakes - James S. A. Corey

Revelation Space - Alastair Reynolds

The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson

The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan

Literary Journals



Mallmann on Fire - Francis Mallmann

Oaxaca - Bricia Lopez

Tartine - Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

Tartine All Day - Elisabeth Prueitt

Tartine Bread - Chad Robertson and Eric Wolfinger

Carl Griffith's 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter

The Sifter

Collections of Note notebooks

Five Books

The King's College Cambridge Undergraduate Reading Lists

Pykewater Library

St. John’s College Great Books Reading List



Oblique Strategies