Last Updated on November 16, 2020
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Reading up on the works of great thinkers and philosophers is one of the best uses of free time. It keeps us informed and broadens our worldview. All in all, we’re just better off for having read great works of writing and literature. Today, we’re glad to share this list of recommendations made by one of the most practical entrepreneurs and success-guru, Naval Ravikant.
Naval Ravikant is an Indian-American investor, businessman, and entrepreneur who’s known for his pragmatic take on life in general and business in particular. He co-founded and is currently the chairman of AngelList, a platform for discovering, investing, and sharing startups and businesses. Even his Twitter feed is riddled with quips and practical insights on business and ethical wealth creation. Without further ado, let’s look at some of the best books as recommended by him.
- 1 1. “Total Freedom”
- 2 2. “The Great Challenge”
- 3 3. “Six Easy Pieces”
- 4 4. “Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track”
- 5 5. “Reality is Not What it Seems.”
- 6 6. “In Search of a Better World”
- 7 7. “The Lessons of History”
- 8 8. “God’s Debris: A Thought Experiment”
- 9 9. “The Salmon of Doubt”
- 10 10. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
- 11 11. “Wind, Sand, and Stars”
- 12 12. “Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charlie T. Munger”
- 13 13. “The Story of Philosophy”
- 14 14. “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment”
- 15 15. “The Sovereign Individual: Mastering the Transformation to the Information Age”
- 16 16. “Brahma”
- 17 17. “The Prophet”
- 18 18. “Good Calories, Bad Calories”
- 19 19. “The Law”
- 20 20. “Ashtavakra Gita” (Bart Marshall Translation)
- 21 21. “I Am That”
- 22 22. “Raja Yoga”
- 23 23. “The Way to Wealth”
- 24 24. “Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living”
- 25 25. “Meditations”
- 26 26. “Tao Te Ching”
- 27 27. “Bhagavad Gita” – Stephen Mitchell Translation
- 28 28. “Hagakure”
- 29 29. “Counsels and Maxims: The Essays of Schopenhauer”
- 30 30. “Understanding Comics”
- 31 31. “The Way of the Superior Man”
- 32 32. “The Untethered Soul”
- 33 33. “on The Origin of Species”
- 34 34. “Science and Method”
- 35 35. “Economics in One Lesson”
“Total Freedom” is an illuminating collection of the spiritualist and philosopher, J Krishnamurthy’s thoughts and writings. The book illuminates how Krishnamurthy sees life, love, and meditation, among other related topics. Critics point out that some of the language and phrasing in the book is superfluous and redundant.
- Author: J Krishnamurthy
- Pages: 386
- Publisher: HarperOne
Written by Osho, a mystic and public speaker, this book defies any simple classification because of the depth of its contents. This book is not merely a challenge, but also an invitation to the hidden world of life and meaning. Some readers respond that some of the issues are too philosophical to understand or have practical, real-world implications.
- Author: Rajneesh ‘Osho’
- Pages: 212
- Publishers: Diamond Books
This book is actually an excerpt from Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s Lectures on Physics. It takes six of the core components of fundamental physics and breaks down the concepts in a jargon-free delivery. Although meant for the layman’s understanding, the principles may be hard to grasp for someone who has no formal history of learning physics.
- Author: Richard Feynman
- Pages: 135
- Publisher: Basic Books
A collection of letters to and from Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman, this book highlights the human and personal side of the great physicist. Readers get insightful views on the way he interacted with contemporaries, peers, fans, friends, and family. It’s a must-read for those of us who want a more personal understanding of one of the most enlightened figures of the twentieth century.
- Author: Richard Feynman (Edited by Michelle Feynman)
- Pages: 512
- Publisher: Basic Books
From Einstein and Aristotle to quantum mechanics and black holes, Rovelli explores how space, time, and matter make up the reality that we see and know. Carlo Rovelli is known to have the rare combination of being a physicist and a poet. This makes his writings and musings informative, intellectual, inspiring, and easy to read.
- Author: Carlo Rovelli
- Pages: 288
- Publishers: Penguin
Austrian thinker and philosopher Sir Karl Popper explores the distinction between ‘truth’ and ‘meaning’ in this large collection of essays. The writings are an accumulation of more than three decades of the philosopher’s work and thoughts.
- Author: Sir Karl Popper
- Pages: 256
- Publisher: Routledge
“The Lessons of History” is a culmination of a lifetime spent studying the story of man and civilization. Eminent historians Will and Ariel Durant bring unprecedented insights into wars, conquests, creation, and humanity’s progress.
- Author: Will Durant, Ariel Durant
- Pages: 119
- Publisher: Fine Communications
“God’s Debris” is exactly what it claims to be – a thought experiment. Spoken through an all-knowing old man, the book attempts an understanding of all of reality. Tackling some of the greatest mysteries and elements of life, it covers gravity, evolution, God, quantum physics, probability, and even light psychic phenomenon.
- Author: Scott Adams
- Pages: 132
- Publishers: Andrews McMeel Publishing
This book is a collection of satirist, humorist, and author – Douglas Adams. Better known for his brilliant work “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Adams takes the reader through a myriad of stories, anecdotes, essays, and musings in this rich accumulation of his work.
- Author: Douglas Adams
- Pages: 298
- Publishers: Del Ray
No list with Douglas Adams in it would be complete without this all-time classic and favorite. Humor and science fiction come together as we join “Arthur Dent” in exploring the galaxy, meeting unusual new characters, and making sense of all the things he encounters. This one’s a classic and must-read for fans of any genre.
- Author: Douglas Adams
- Pages: 193
- Publishers: Del Ray
Arguably the most exciting and popular book about flight and flying, this book captures the danger, rush, and magnificence of flight. The Academie Francaise awarded it the prestigious Grand Prix for its lyrical prose and verbal poetry. Critics point out the apparent embrace of French Imperialism by the author at the beginning of the book. But this isn’t reason enough to forego reading one of the greatest prose pieces about air travel.
- Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Pages: 229
- Publisher: Mariner Books
A comprehensive biography of the prolific investor, businessman, and philanthropist – Charles T, Munger, it’s an essential for any budding entrepreneur. The book expounds on his work ethic, decision-making, investing models, in great detail. Also, as a plus point, the book has a nice foreward by the great Warren E. Buffet.
- Author: Charlie T. Munger
- Pages: 512
- Publishers: Donning Company Publishers
Another classic by the historian Will Durant, this book, channels the thoughts of some of the best-known philosophers in history. From Plato to Voltaire, to Nietzsche to Russell, it’s the ultimate collection for the thinking reader.
- Author: Will Durant
- Pages: 704
- Publishers: Pocket Books
Eckhart Tolle breaks down complicated concepts and elucidates simples notions to explain one idea – The timeless and endearing message of living in the now.
- Author: Eckhart Tolle
- Pages: 229
- Publishers: New World Library
This book is a masterpiece, a thought-provoking book on the information revolution, and the turn of the new century. It highlights both the currents of calamity and the prospects of development that come with new knowledge.
- Authors: James Dale Davidson, William Rees-Mogg
- Pages: 448
- Publishers: Touchstone
“Brahma” is more a poem than a book, but an essential read for anyone who enjoys unique perspectives. The brilliant R.W. Emerson pens down this poem from the Hindu god, Brahma’s point of view.
- Author: Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Pages: 1
- Publishers: None
One of the classics of our time, “The Prophet,” is loved for both its lyrical beauty and intellectual perspective. A collection of philosophical and intellectual musings, it’s usually an entry in any list of great books.
- Author: Kahlil Gibran
- Pages: 127
- Publishers: Rupa and Co
Award-Winning writer Gary Taubes explores the relationship of calories and weight loss/gain. He argues that the type of calories we ingest is far more important than the quantity. A revolutionary contribution to the science of weight-loss and health, it’s mandatory reading for any fan of the genre.
- Author: Gary Taubes
- Pages: 601
- Publishers: Knopf
One of the most profound and passionate analyses of the state, its laws, and the ethics of how its enforcers enjoy more leeway over those it rules.
- Author: Frederic Bastiat
- Pages: 61
- Publishers: Ludwig von Mises Institute
The Ashtavakra Gita is a renowned spiritual and classical text that captures the discourse between King Jataka and Ashtavakra the sage. This translation by Bart Marshall is regarded by most as accurately capturing the intent of the original text.
- Author: Bart Marshall (Translator)
- Pages: 73
- Publishers: RealFace Press
Indian sage and seer Nisargadatta Maharaj offered a lot of insights and perspectives on life and philosophy. “I Am That” is a useful collection of his many discourses with his followers from all over the globe.
- Author: Nisargadatta Maharaj (Translated by Maurice Frydman)
- Pages: 550
- Publishers: The Acorn Press
Swami Vivekananda’s empirical approach to Yoga and its philosophy, this one’s a must for followers of Yoga in its many forms.
- Author: Swami Vivekananda
- Pages: 297
- Publishers: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Mission
Easily one of the best classics on frugality and diligence, “The Way to Wealth,” gives us some of the best-known quotes and mantras on living wisely. Written by the great Benjamin Franklin, this book is as timeless as it is relevant today.
- Author: Benjamin Franklin
- Pages: 30
- Publishers: Applewood Books
Written by Martial Artist extraordinaire, Bruce Lee, this book contains over 70 topics and more than 800 maxims to live by. As an actor and generational icon, Bruce Lee’s words echo over readers’ consciences even today.
- Author: Bruce Lee
- Pages: 228
- Publishers: Tuttle Publishing
When Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius penned down his reflections and thoughts, he had no idea it would resonate millennia after he was gone. Translated by Martin Hammond and Albert Wittstock, “Meditation” contains the works of Aurelius as he made sense of his life and the world.
- Author: Marcus Aurelius
- Pages: 303
- Publishers: Penguin Books
This treatise is a classic by any standard, written over two millennia ago by the Old Master Lao Tsu. It talks about the synonymous qualities of the ideal ruler and the perfect citizen.
- Author: Lao Tsu (English translation by Jane English)
- Pages: 160
- Publishers: Vintage
The Bhagavad Gita, a religious and spiritual masterpiece, is at the center of the Hindu tradition. Stephen Mitchell brings his uncanny ability to vividly and accurately translate texts in this edition of the Bhagavad Gita.
- Author: Translated by Stephen Mitchell
- Pages: 160
- Publisher: Phoenix Books
Literally translated to mean “In the shadow of the leaves,” this book captures a series of codes and ethics that align with Bushido – the Way of the Warrior. It’s a collection of the thoughts of Yamamoto Tsunemoto, who recorded them over a phase of seven years.
- Author: Yamamoto Tsunemoto (Translated by William Scott Wilson)
- Pages: 179
- Publishers: Kodansha
This book is a compilation of German thinker Arthur Schopenhauer’s adages and aphorisms. Greatly influenced by Immanuel Kant, Schopenhauer’s thoughts and writings went on to guide many thinkers, including Wagner, Nietzsche, and Freud.
- Author: Arthur Schopenhauer
- Pages: 116
- Publishers: Dodo Press
Cartoonist and comics theorist Scott McCloud, gives an influential examination of the world and industry of comics. It contains brilliant exposition, technical elements, rich history, and the cultural role of comics.
- Author: Scot McCloud
- Pages: 215
- Publishers: William Morrow Paperbacks
David Deida explores and expounds on all the attributes that go into making a man. The book touches everything from family and career to skills and spirituality. It’s a great starting point, as well as an aspirational destination for any man worth his salt!
- Author: David Deida
- Pages: 202
- Publishers: Sounds True
Michael A. Singer’s New York Times Bestseller is a cut above the rest when it comes to self-help and self-improvement genre. The book looks at the possibilities of living beyond your limitations and setbacks.
- Author: Michael A. Singer
- Pages: 200
- Publishers: New Harbinger
A groundbreaking piece of scientific literature and the ultimate challenge to orthodox belief, Charles Darwin’s work remains the basis of many scientific conclusions today. It’s one of the core literature pieces of modern civilization and a must-read for anyone in pursuit of any knowledge.
- Author: Charles Darwin
- Pages: 703
- Publishers: Castle Books
Ever wondered how scientists arrive at conclusions or make a hypothesis? This book by Henry Poincare sets out to explain the way science works with facts and figures. It covers all that you wanted to know about the scientific way from methodology and discovery to experimentation and examination.
- Author: Henry Poincare
- Pages: 304
- Publisher: Dover Publications
Henry Hazlitt’s work has come to be one of the foundational works for understanding modern libertarian economics. This book is a seminal piece for today’s economic trends, emphasizing a free-market and liberty of the individual.
- Author: Henry Hazlitt
- Pages: 218
- Publishers: Three Rivers
Naval Ravikant’s recommendations highlight the fact that he’s a widely read and diversely informed man. A casual run-through of these books will give you a taste of literature, science, progress, and philosophy in many forms.
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