T Nation

Another Book Thread


I'm starting law school in the fall and I assume that I won't be able to get a lot of reading in that I really want when that time comes. So I've set a goal of a dozen books between now and then. I'm looking for recommendations to fill certain gaps or to replace books already on the list.

1:The Political Thought of Justice Antonin Scalia: A Hamiltonian on the Supreme Court - James Staab

2:Tides of War - Steven Pressfield (I've already read Gates of Fire)

3:The Radicalization of the American Revolution - Gordon Wood

4:The Puppet Masters - Robert Heinlein

5:The Law - Bastiat

6:Citizen of the Galaxy - Robert Heinlein

7:Idealogical Origins of the American Revolution - Bernard Baylyn

8: [Sam Adams or Thomas Paine Biography]

9: [Comprehensive French Revolution]

10: [Math or Science related]

11: [Military Oriented] (I'm currently leaning toward Why Marines Fight

12: [Generic Fiction]



I love Heinlein!

For what it's worth, right now I'm reading David Copperfield.
I never had to read Dickens in school. Now I wish they'd made us...this book is pure joy.


10: [Math related]

Infinity and the Mind - Rudy Rucker

Good book dealing with many aspects of the infinite. Not too sophisticated
(ie, non-math major with a good level of intellect can get it)

A Mathematician's Apology - H. Hardy.

It concerns the aesthetics of mathematics with some personal content, and gives the layman an insight into the mind of a working mathematician. Fantastic read. Seriously. Kinda sad too.

New [Popular Science and Philosophy]

Stumbling on Happiness - Daniel Gilbert

Hard to explain. This does it justice:
"Happy with your life? If so, that?s as much a function of random chance as anything, according to Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness. Gilbert convincingly debunks the notion that our past emotional states, present experiences, and imagined futures can be accurate predictors of our actual future levels of happiness. As he describes it, most of us wrongly believe that how we felt when we experienced an event in the past can be a telling predictor of how we will feel about that same event in the future. (Last time I drank tequila I felt ill, therefore I will never enjoy a margarita again.)"

Why I am not a Christian - Bertand Russell

Brilliant mathematician/philosopher. He brings his usual scrupulous logic and lofty wisdom when addressing the "basic" questions of man's place in the universe, nature of the good life, life after death, morality, freedom, education and sexual ethics.

How Proust can change your life - Alain De Botton

I really like De Botton, he makes philosophy accessible but doesn't trivialize it. This particular book is separated into various chapters dealing with many aspects of life (Love, Success, Work etc) and not only illustrates how Proust's ideas/work can impact them but we have a mini biography of the Philosopher/Writer throughout.

Hmmm. Got many more but those should do for the moment.


Let me just say that Gordon Wood is the man.

For math (if you're a layman) you need Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. Kooky beauty. It's wonderful.

A Primate's Memoir, Robert Sapolsky. A behaviorist studying baboons in Africa -- but that falls so short. You'll laugh till you cry, and you'll know a lot more about evolutionary psychology.

The Invention of Air, Simon Johnson. About Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen. A man after your own heart, judging by your book list. Your classic Enlightenment radical freethinker with a scientific bent.

Other stuff:
Everything by Richard Powers. (Fiction.) Beautiful, beautiful stuff. He's pegged as an "intellectual" novelist, but he has more heart than he's given credit for. Start with Galatea 2.2.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Junot Diaz). Geekery and tragedy in a family from the Dominican Republic, and some of the best language I've seen in a long time.

Harlot's Ghost, by Norman Mailer. About the CIA (no actual harlots). I'm not sure why I love this so much, but it's a deep, strange novel.

J.S. Mill will change your life if he hasn't already. Read On Liberty and On the Subjugation of Women.

That's what I can think of for now; there's lots more, of course.


Hey Swiss, of these two which one do you think is best? I think I'm going to take you up on it and put one of them on the list.




Yeah, I've read Revolutionary Characters and the Americanization of Ben Franklin. I keep hearing that he's a socialist, but I haven't found it in his writing, but I'd be willing to bet that it's in Radicalization if it's anywhere.

What would you consider the best of the three?

I've read On the Subjugation of Women, and will hopefully someday read on Liberty. It's been staring at me from my bookshelf along with Atlas Shrugged for about two years now. But I'm planning on reading Democracy in America first.



Atlas Shrugged is amazing, but quite a task to take on. I recommend it above all else on your list.


someone shoot me plz


This is very broad. Are there any specific areas you are interested in? Are you into more basic, layman stuff, or more advances reading?


I think Swiss has me covered here. I'm looking for more layman stuff.



I never liked having to read a book. Takes all the fun out of it, so I would be happy if I were you. In fact, you should go back and read books that you were made to read in school. They're good.


The count of monte Cristo.




If you get a chance, I'd like to recommend "How to Dunk a Doughnut" by Len Fisher. It's a good book on the science of everyday things. It goes into the way scientists approach things and the how and why they think. It's a quick, fun, and easy read.