When I was 18, I read Hermann Hesse’s novel Siddhartha, and that had a big effect on me. I make myself read it every decade because I get a different perspective every time. It’s a beautiful book.
I admire each of the remarkable individuals that David Brooks examines in “The Road to Character,” and their journeys provide valuable lessons for us all. But what ultimately made me love the book was the way Mr. Brooks examines himself. By taking an unflinching look at his own life and work, he offers a rare present-day model for how to navigate a world that constantly encourages us to focus on résumé, values and reward. Beyond provoking valuable self-reflection and introspection, the book sparked a wonderful discussion with my two daughters about why building inner character is just as important as building a career. In fact, the two go hand in hand—the moral compass of our lives must also be the moral compass of our livelihoods.
Through this book, David Brooks has encouraged me and thousands of others to reflect further and more deeply on our priorities and aspirations, through the lens of humility and moral depth. David’s insights, wit, and deep curiosity are all applied to a fantastic journey of learning from the lives of some of the greatest leaders and thinkers of our time.
René Girard is the one writer who has influenced me the most. Here he gives a sweeping view of the whole human experience on this plane — but it’s not just an academic philosophy. Once you learn about it, his view of imitation as the root of behavior is something you will see every day, not just in people around you but in yourself.
The weirdest idea anyone ever had about the future is that we should expect it to look like the past — but that’s what the reigning science of statistics assumes. Nassim Taleb has not been fooled; he is the single best guide to understanding uncertainty.
A remarkable account of consciousness by one of the world’s leading neuroscientists.
Edward O. Wilson at his wisest, about the place of humanity in nature and the meaning of it all.
A wonderful book on wisdom and decision-making written by a wise decision-maker. This is the kind of book you read first, then leave by your bedside and re-read a bit every day, so you can slowly soak up the wisdom. It is sort of Montaigne but applied to business, with a great investigation of the psychological dimension of decision-making. I like the book for many reasons –the main one is that it was written by a practitioner who knows what he wants, not by an academic. Enjoy it!
A great book for a refresher in analytical philosophy: pleasant, clear. Go buy this book!