T Nation

Top Book Picks (Non-Training)


Hi All!

I'm heading on a trip to the Toronto, Canada area for a couple of weeks, and figured that since I'll have a bit of down time, I should probably take this opportunity to train my mind.

Anyone have any good picks for non-fiction books? (any genre, thought we could get into a discussion on good books, new or old)



Fear and loathing in las vegas by Hunter S Thompson.


This is pretty good...


Are you a physicist, too?

I would have to recommend:

Conrad, Joseph. The Heart of Darkness. 1902 (you may remember a Vietnam movie, "Apocolypse Now" that was based on this book)

Frazer, James G. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. 1890-1915

Heisenberg, Werner. Uncertainty Principle. 1927 (Great book--if you can find it in English)

Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. 1927

Sagan, Carl. Intelligent Life in the Universe. 1963

Empson, William. Seven Types of Ambiguity.

Have fun, relax, and enjoy your time off.


Where the Red Fern Grows... about a little boy in the Ozarks and his two 'Coon hounds Big Dan and Little Ann. If you ever had a dog that you loved, you WILL shed a tear. It's not political or racey or anything else. Just a sweet story.


Freakanomics by Stephen Levitt

Anyone know the reason for the massive drop in the crime rate in the States throughout the 1990's?

The legalization of abortion in 1973, read this book for more info.


Another Hunter Thompson "Hells Angles"
"The World is Flat" Thomas Freidman


No, I just pretend to be one on the internet. Like Mertdawg, except I can actually pull it off. :wink:


Other good stuff:

Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions by James Randi

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos

(The sequel "Beyond Innumeracy" is also good.)


Howl by Allen Ginsberg.
On the Road by Jack Keroac.
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail by Hunter Thompson. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. The Bagavhad of Gita. The Tibetian Book of The Dead.


Heart of Darkness is one of my all time favorite books....


I will second On The Road. Just a great read.


East of Eden. Steinbeck
For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway (anything by him, actually)

The War of The End of The World. By a Peruvian writer named Mario Vargas Lhosa. Amazing book.


Hesse, Hermann. Steppenwolf. 1927

NEVER EVER read anything on Hesse. CVS could make millions by selling Hesse's books as sleeping pills. About 10 pages in, you'll be out like a baby.

Atleast this was for me and quite a bit of other readers also. Siddharta wasn't bad, but the one about the Glass game ... my god.

I'd recommend objectivism thoughts by Ayn Rand, more specifically the Fountainhead. Awesome book about sticking to your thoughts and giving the big ole 'fuck off' to everyone else :slight_smile:


Seven Pillars of Wisdom



A Brief History of Time, or The Universe in a Nutshell (more pictures!).


Anything by R.A. Salvatore.... I am serious; this guy is consistently THE BEST fantasy writer.



Any one of Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy. I read these books at school, and they had a real impact.


Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
Pompeii by Robert Harris
Anything by James Herbert
Anything by Terry Pratchett



Sorry, next time I'll actually READ the post. Non-fiction wise, I have to say that the Motley Crue biography Dirt is massively entertaining, if a little scary. And Rat Pack Confidential is a good one for anyone intertested in those swinging Vegas days!


Drizzt Do'Urden struck me as being a little too perfect for my tastes.

Anyway, the question was for non-fiction books.

  • The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins

  • Theological-Political Treatise, Baruch (or Benedict) Spinoza


I see On the Road listed a couple of times.

Poorly written book, with complete utter lack of a story.

Only interesting when you consider that it was written at a point in our history that this type of behavior was completely unacceptable. Very tame by todays standards.

It was supposedly written in a couple of days while he was on drugs. It shows in the writing.

Still worth a read.