Books to Base Your Life On

I was trying to come up with a way to organize my books. The genre system doesn’t really work – it’s always about what the author wrote the book for, not what I use it for. When Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals in the 1960’s he probably wasn’t thinking about the internet. Still, it’s the centerpiece of Internet Strategy shelf. I decided to label them that way, by what they’ve taught me, connections and what I applied it to. Things like “Hustling,” “America” “Evolution (which includes evolutionary pysch, some economics, sex memoirs) or my favorite, “Animals”

If there was a fire or I had to abandon most of my library, there’s one shelf I would grab. It’s the only one that matters. It’s my Life section – books with life lessons, advice, morals, ways of being. They could all fit well their original genres (non-fiction, economics, philosophy, literature) but to me they only feel right together. They were all consumed the same way, under the same guiding idea:

My advice is really this: what we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching and the spirited and noble-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application–not far far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech–and learn them so well that words become works.” – Seneca

So this is my Life section:

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American by BH Liddell Hart

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

The Image by Daniel Boorstin

Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan

The Fish that Ate the Whale by Rich Cohen

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

The Harder They Fall by Budd Schulberg

What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg

Letters From a Stoic by Seneca

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

Classic Feynman by Richard Feynman

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker

The Discourses by Epictetus

Reflections and Moral Maxims by Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

On The Good Life by Cicero

The Dip by Seth Godin

Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) by Carol Tavris

Ask the Dust by John Fante

Masteryby Robert Greene

48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

I’ve done the same with my Delicious account. I couldn’t tell you whats in half the articles I tagged “life” but I know that I absorbed something from each of them. I don’t want to be like that. THIS is how to think. Innovation or Exploitation?

I’m in no position to give anyone life advice. I’m still figuring mine out. But these are the books and themes I’m basing my life on. It’s working out so far.

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