Yearly Reading Plan: 26 Books That Will Change Your Life

The best thing about reading is how it allows you to learn from the greatest minds in history. Have a look at this amazing yearly reading plan!

Meditations By Marcus Aurelius

Stoic Philosophy / Short Read / 

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor who wrote his personal memories and thoughts on life, death, friendship, and morality.

Meditations is an outstanding read. Potentially life-changing.  A proto self-help book. First hand from a real doer.

Many big thinkers and influential characters claim that Meditations is one of the most influential books they ever read – the list includes modern stars such as Naval Ravikant, Tim Ferris, and many others.

Miss at your peril!

Antifragile By Nassim Taleb

Risk & Philosophy / Medium Read /

Nassim Taleb is a no-nonsense former trader, current professors and researcher, and above all, a fervent advocate of a stoic understanding of life, with emphasis on the concepts of honour, courage, and truth.

His work includes technical risk-management essays, but he’s best known for the series of books called Incerto, which include , , , , and

Thinking Fast And Thinking Slow by Daniel Kahnemann

Psychology / Long Read /

A very insightful book, the author introduces his body of research, mostly the so-called thinking patterns system 1 and system 2 – which undermine the concept of human rationality.

System 1 refers to impulse thought response, where we believe we know the answer and don’t bother going into deeper analysis. For example, what is 2+2? Or what is the capital of France?

System 2 refers to a pattern of deeper analysis and slower thinking process, where one “calculates” the solution. For example: What is 23×44? Or how many windows does your house have?

The key to his research is that, sometimes, we mistakenly believe we are using one system of though when in fact we are using the other. This means to biases and errors that are not compatible with the notion of rationality.

A Man’s Search For Meaning by Frankl

Holocaust – Philosophy & Psychology / Medium Read /

A shocking account of the horrors suffered by a survivor of the Holocaust, Frankl presents his intimate, first-hand view on how could people endure such harsh inhumane living conditions.

Frankl states that a man’s main existential concern is not the pursuit of pleasure or avoidance of pain but the pursuit of a meaning of life.

Additionally, he states that the meaning of life a question for which there is no absolute answer, just like in chess there is no ‘best move’ beyond the most adequate in a particular situation.

A very recommended read; crude and painfully honest, this book will change your view on life.

World Order (Kissinger)

International Relations & Geopolitics / Medium Read /

Kissinger is a giant in the field of geopolitics and diplomacy. His international relations view shaped American foreign policy for decades.

Particularly, his view on how to deal with communist China versus the USSR was crucial and paved the way for China’s economic aperture in from the 70s.

This book also introduces basic concepts of international relations such as the “nation state” and while not so obvious at first, this book might change your view on the concepts of nationalities, culture, and global forces.

Notes From The Underground (Dostoevsky)

Fiction – Philosophy / Short Read /

Divided into two parts, this is one of the shorter novels by Dostoevsky, and certainly one of the most powerful. Reading the first part feels both surgically cynical and enlightening in an unprecedented way.

Clearly, Dostoevsky’s work is beyond literature, is a human treaty on his own psychological flaws and boundaries, in the light of God, religion, and morality. Mind-blowing.

The Little Prince

Kids – Philosophy / Short Read /

A story meant for curious kids, this is a fantastic book to read as an adult as well.

The focus on the main concepts in life makes this a great learning experience as a kid and a humbling exercise as an adult.

Additionally, the beautiful illustration makes this an iconic work.

The Outsider

Existentialist Fiction – Philosophy / Short Read /

This novel explores the story of a man who is just indifferent to the death of his own mother.

A classic of existential philosophy, this book is a powerful tool to question morality.

Sapiens

History – Antropology / Short Read /

One of the best books in the last 10 years, this history read feels fresh and enriching.

The author describes the four main parts: the cognitive revolution, the Agricultural revolution, the unification of mankind, and finally the scientific revolution.

What is remarkably interesting is how the author puts history in context, thus drawing surprising connections to the theory of evolution while building on anthropological and scientific evidence.

One of his main points is also the most widely criticised – the author argues that the agricultural revolution (the transition from hunter-gathering societies to farming societies) is the history’s biggest fraud. He is adamantly critical of how agricultural societies ultimately benefited to mankind.

Lolita by Nabokov

Fiction / Medium Read /

A highly polemic book: obscene and repulsive, but also beautifully written.

This is how most people see Nabokov’s masterpiece, which incidentally was originally written in English.

Lolita is a tough read, since it clearly pushes the boundaries of morality and explores societal taboos. Read at your own risk.

Brave New World

Fiction – Dystopia / Medium Read /

 

1984 by George Orwell

Fiction – Dystopia / Medium Read /

A truly prophetic work of dystopic fiction. Orwell developed the idea of an overarching state where privacy, freedom – and even truth were redefined according to the state.

Tao The Ching

Oriental Philosophy / Short Read /

The Tao is one of the primary foundations of taoism, a religion/philosophy widely followed in Eastern Asia.

Generally speaking, the Tao presents wisdom in a very naturalistic way, extracting wisdom from the simplest expression of reality.

This means that it somehow reads like Chinese fortune cookies, but yet again platitudes are well-known for a reason.

It’s the closest you can get to listening to a 3000 year old Eastern wise man. And it’s certainly worth it.

The Catcher In The Rye

Fiction / Short Read /

A funny short read about a young kid on his transition from high-school to university and more accurately from teenage to real life.

Phaedo by Plato

Classics – Philosophy / Short Read /

Plato is a founding voice in the history of Mediterranean thought, and hence western thought.

Reading Plato’s work is relatively light, as he was an enthusiastic

The Death Of Ivan Illych by Lev Tolstoy

Russian Classics / Short Read /

This short novella deals with one of the most profound aspects in human existence: the existential question of whether we live appropriately.

The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky

Russian Literature – Philosophy / Long Read /

Probably one of the best novels ever written, a masterpiece, a giant of literature.

A hard read, tedious and fantastically thought-provoking, The Brothers Karamazov deals with the big questions in life.

For those that feel it’s going to be too much, try with short story, a chapter of the book that is so powerful that is usually presented independently.

History Of Philosophy (Russell)

Philosophy / Long Read /

A quite thorough and opinionated history of western philosophy by the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell. While a bit dry and hard to follow at times, it is one of the best portable surveys of the history of philosophy.

Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Fiction / Short Read /

A quintessential short story by the Czech writer, the main character finds himself transformed into a giant bug and the situation becomes quite surreal as he tries to deal with it.

The Bible

Religion / Long Read /

The Christian Bible is indisputably one of the most influential books of all times. The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament, which itself represent a substantial part of the Jewish Torah. Additionally, the Christian Bible incorporates new texts by the 12 Apostles.

Christianity appeared as a sect of Judaism, as revealed to Jesus Christ. It developed a large following around the Levant and Eastern Mediterranean and eventually became the religion of the Roman Empire.

Christianity spread very quickly due to its innovative concept of the eternal paradise, and unconditional love and faith.

Reading the Christian Bible will offer you a new point of view over the Western Values.

The Koran

Religion / Long Read /

The holy Koran is the main religious text of the Muslim faith narrating the message of his main prophet Muhammad.

Reading the Koran is a good idea for those curious to understand Islam, an abrahamic religion with over 1000 years of history, and currently the world’s fastest growing cult.

The Communist Manifesto by Marx & Engels

Political Theory / Short Read /

One of the most influential essays in the history of mankind, it radically changed forever the view on societal structure and classes and how to address such gaps.

Regardless of one’s political views, the text is radically transformative, and led to social revolutions that culminated in the emergence of the USSR, Communist China, and many other communist regimes.

The Prince by Machiavelli

Political Theory / Short Read /

Another classical book on how to rule a society. Generally misunderstood, the book argues for a meticulous and harsh policy to remain in charge.

Hundreds of years after it was published, it remains a key reading to understand how and why governments operate.

The Art Of War by Sun Tzu

Military Strategy / Short Read /

A book full of thoughtful gems, used in fields such as military, game theory, business, and sports.

The text introduces tactics and strategies to remain strong and victorious in all situations.

The Origin Of Species By Darwin

Evolutionary Theory / Medium Read /

A magnificent work, Darwin’s theory of evolution unveiled the origin of mankind and squashed the biblical tradition of Genesis, which claims that God directly created mankind.

Letters From a Stoic by Seneca

Stoic Philosophy / Short Read /

Seneca is one of the big classical names in the history of philosophy.

A member of the stoics, he synthesised a very peculiar view on life and ethics in a very elegant collection of letters.

Nassim Taleb, for instance, has described repeatedly how this book shaped his thinking and personal philosophy.

Meditations On First Philosophy by Descartes

Analytical Philosophy / Short Read /

There are few human revelations that may rival the trascendental importance of Descates cogito, as narrated on the Meditations On First Philosophy.

Descartes’ Meditations narrate the inception of the perennial “Cogito, ergo sum” – I think, therefore I exist.

With his innovative view of existence, Descartes marks a before and after in the history of philosophy.

A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking

Physics / Short Read /

A very popular science read, it is an excellent introduction to physics, relativity and the big elusive concepts such as time, matter, energy, universe, etc.

Hawking was one of the world’s leading physicists and will be remember for his great body of research.

What are your favorite reads? Do you have a yearly reading plan? 🙂

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