- Brain of the Firm – Stafford Beer. The most approachable book about the self-organising nature of complex systems.
- Silence – John Cage. Music as philosophy (with lots of Zen wit).
- The Evolution of Cooperation – Robert Axelrod. How time changes relationship: a
message of hope.
- The Clock of the Long Now – Stewart Brand. Why we need to think long.
- Managing the Commons – Garrett Hardin and John Baden. Structural observations
about shared resources.
- A New Kind of Science – Stephen Wolfram. Controversial and exciting new approach to
the genesis of complex systems.
- Grooming Gossip and the Evolution of Language – Robin Dunbar. The origins and
limits of human community.
- The Mystery of Capital – Hernando de Soto. Why capitalism can’t be planted just
- Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges. The ultimate “what if?” book.
- Africa: A Biography of the Continent – John Reader. The story of Africa beginning 4
- Animal Architecture – Karl von Frisch. One of the best “beauty of nature” books
- Contingency Irony and Solidarity – Richard Rorty. A great work of modern
pragmatism: the antidote to Derrida.
- Peter the Great – Robert K. Massie. Superb biography of a giant located somewhere
between Ghengis Khan Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Stalin.
- Roll Jordan Roll: The World Slaves Built – Eugene D. Genovese. The unexpected
richness and lasting importance of slave culture in America.
- Folk Song Style and Culture – Alan Lomax. An extraordinary theory that singing style
is indicative of social structure by the pioneer collector of world music.
- The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins. Even if you think you know what this is about
it’s worth reading. The atheist’s defence.
- Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville. He guessed at the best of it warned
of the worst of it and was right on both counts.
- Guns Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond. Compelling account of the physical factors
shaping world history.
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