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On books (from an email)

Speaking of Gibbon, I recently made what I think is a definitive list of books (and subjects like worldview analysis) for myself. These are works that I think stay with you in essence. Everybody's list would be different, but a lot of overlap. I focus on complete education, summit level, but there may be something to be said for smaller, less universal books, perhaps, in some ways.

My point here is the power to be gained by knowing a condensed, balanced list of influences. Really knowing them. Having it in front of you. Here's mine:

01 Holy Bible, AV1611
02 Iliad & Odyssey - Homer
03 Russian Novel - Tolstoy/Dostoevsky
04 Parzival - Wolfram von Eschenbach
05 Fourth Way - Ouspensky
06 Reformed Theology - Berkhof/Boston/Bunyan
07 Worldview Analysis - Naugle/Sire/Pearcey
08 Elements - Euclid
09 History of the Peloponnesian War - Thucydides
10 Lives - Plutarch
11 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Gibbon
12 Democracy in America - Alexis de Tocqueville
13 Reflections on the Revolution in France - Burke
14 On War - Carl von Clausewitz
15 Wealth of Nations - Adam Smith
16 Spirit of Laws - Montesquieu

I've rarely mentioned Euclid, but for that I just think it's good to know, sometimes, that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Kind of a practical, common-sense language.

Also, when you read such books it then opens up in your mind the lesser things you need to get to get a complete picture. You have contrast and context to work off of. It's a lot of reading, but we have to have a lifetime of reading to get to the point of being able to construct such a list to begin with (and we'll already have read many by then, though re-reading is like compound interest, valuable), and there is time in the day to do anything if not wasted. - C.


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