My Alma mater was books
— Malcolm X
I was reading the dictionary. I thought it was a poem about everything.
— Steven Wright
The Commitment - Read at least 25 books over one year.

Reading is one of the most important things in my life.  For learning, for entertainment, and for a bit of escapism, there is nothing like a good book.  For each book that I read during this year, I’ll write a review in the blog section of this website. This element of the pledge is very simple.  Just read an average of one book every two weeks.  One of my favorite resources for finding new books is the bookshelf at Brain Pickings. Here as well are some suggestions that I've read, broken out by category and listed in order of preference within that category.


  • Truman by McCullough, David
  • Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by Gleick, James

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Hillenbrand, Laura
  • Alexander Hamilton by Chernow, Ron

  • Churchill by Johnson, Paul

  • The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Schroeder, Alice

  • Thomas Jefferson by Bernstein, R.B.


  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Feynman, Richard P.
  • Travels by Crichton, Michael

  • War by Junger, Sebastian *
  • Man's Search for Meaning by Frankl, Viktor E.

  • Last Chance to See by Adams, Douglas

  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Bauby, Jean-Dominique
  • An Island to Oneself: The Story of Six Years on a Desert Island by Neale, Tom
  • Angela's Ashes by McCourt, Frank
  • Losing Mum and Pup by Buckley, Christopher


  • Cloud Atlas by Mitchell, David
  • A Fraction of the Whole by Toltz, Steve

  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by Mitchell, David
  • Ghostwritten by Mitchell, David
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities by Wolfe, Tom

  • All the Pretty Horses by McCarthy, Cormac

  • A Confederacy of Dunces by Toole, John Kennedy

  • Shantaram by Roberts, Gregory David

  • Success by Amis, Martin

  • The Pregnant Widow by Amis, Martin
  • The Sense of an Ending by Barnes, Julian
  • The Remains of the Day by Ishiguro, Kazuo

  • Zorba the Greek by Kazantzakis, Nikos
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Zafón, Carlos Ruiz
  • The Road by McCarthy, Cormac
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1) by Adams, Douglas
  • A Soldier of the Great War by Helprin, Mark
  • A Man in Full by Wolfe, Tom
  • The Imperfectionists by Rachman, Tom
  • Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous
  • A Long Long Way by Barry, Sebastian
  • Open City by Cole, Teju

  • Catch-22 by Heller, Joseph

  • Shutter Island by Lehane, Dennis

  • The Piano Tuner by Mason, Daniel

  • 1984 by Orwell, George


  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Hofstadter, Douglas R.
  • The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Pollan, Michael
  • Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain by Gazzaniga, Michael S.

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Kahneman, Daniel

  • The Selfish Gene by Dawkins, Richard 

  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics by Susskind, Leonard
  • Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Harford, Tim 

  • Into Thin Air by Krakauer, Jon

  • Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Baumeister, Roy F.

  • The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Haidt, Jonathan

  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Krakauer, Jon
  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by Eagleman, David *
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Lansing, Alfred
  • Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Zukav, Gary
  • Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by McDougall, Christopher
  • Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Hanson, Rick 

  • Heroes of History by Durant, Will
  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Junger, Sebastian 

  • The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Harris, Sam

  • Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street by Poundstone, William

  • Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water by Reisner, Marc

  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Diamond, Jared

  • Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Johnson, Steven

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Cialdini, Robert B.

  • Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Damásio, António R.

  • Into the Wild by Krakauer, Jon

  • The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by Gleick, James


  • The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by XIV, Dalai Lama
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Pirsig, Robert M.

  • The Varieties of Religious Experience by James, William

  • Tao Te Ching by Tzu, Lao

  • The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values by Harris, Sam
  • The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Watts, Alan Wilson
  • The Tao of Pooh by Hoff, Benjamin
  • The I Ching, or Book of Changes by Xi, Fu

  • Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe by Lanza, Robert P.

Investing + Markets

  • Inside the Investor's Brain: The Power of Mind Over Money by Peterson, Richard L.
  • More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places by Mauboussin, Michael J.

  • The (Mis)Behavior of Markets by Mandelbrot, Benoît B.

  • Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Lefèvre, Edwin

  • Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Bernstein, Peter L.

  • A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation by Bookstaber, Richard

  • Devil Take the Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation by Chancellor, Edward

  • Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor by Bogle, John C.

  • This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Reinhart, Carmen M.
  • Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises by Kindleberger, Charles P.

  • The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor: Uncommon Sense for Thoughtful Investors by Marks, Howard