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Interesting Books

 

This is a list a books that I have personally read in the last few years and have found to increase my understanding of the world in a significant way. They are not in any particular order.

 

Fiction

Each of these fiction books is a fertile bed of mind expanding possibilities. They are all good stories in their own right, but even more, they describe a world that is enough different to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

    Atlas Shrugged is a novel about a man and a society's philosophical struggle. This is Rand's 1950s classic that portrays the logical conclusion of  government and society ignoring the real source of wealth. It is eerie in its prognostication of current events. A must read for anyone who wants to understand why things are happening as they are in today's world.

  • The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

    This novel portrays an architect's struggle to create excellence in a society that can only understand  mediocrity and decadence.

  • The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

    Imagine meeting a woman for the first time and discovering that she's known you since her childhood. This is just one of the strange twists that occurs when you have a disease that causes you to suddenly jump backward and forward in time. This novel will help you to see things from new perspectives.

  • Off Armageddon Reef - David Weber

    Earth was loosing the battle against a relentless interstellar enemy so they sent a team to colonize a hidden planet. To keep the colony hidden, they had to create a belief system that forbids innovation that could lead to things like radio. This is the story of life after the danger has passed. David Weber paints a picture of what can happen when religion runs amok and then shows the struggle of one man (or woman or android - it's unclear which) who tries to reignite the fire of innovation.

  • Deep Storm - Lincoln Child

    Researchers on a North Atlantic oil platform discover strange magnetic signals coming from beneath the earth's crust. What they find, or think they will find, creates significant conflict among those involved, but that pales in comparison to the problem they finally uncover. This is another mind stretching story.

  • Prey - Michael Crichton

    In short, nanites gone bad. The hero is a software engineer whose software has been used for purposes it was never designed - to define the prime directive of a swarm of nanites.

  • Timeline - Michael Crichton

    You're an historian at an archeological dig looking at artifacts from the 14th century when you find a pair of bifocal glasses with your missing bosses prescription. Attached is a note asking for help. You soon discover that he has, in fact, gone through a time machine - one that still has some technical kinks to work out. You go back to help him and find that life in the 14th century was quite an adventure.

  • Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

    Earth has been fighting an interstellar war for centuries. Things are starting to get desperate; So desperate, in fact, that the military creates a special school to train young children to be warriors. Ender Wiggin is an exceptional student, but his training leads to something far more interesting than the video games he thinks he is playing. (I recommend the audio edition because of the voice characterizations.)

  • Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card

    As good as Ender's Game is in it's own right, it's really just setting the scene for Speaker for the Dead. Ender has an extraordinary talent for understanding the lives of the deceased. His ability to reconstruct the events leading to the death of a researcher on a remote Earth colony has profound implications for the whole universe. (I recommend the audio edition because of the voice characterizations.)

  • The Consciousness Plague - Paul Levinson

    A medical and murder mystery all rolled into one; How do you conduct an investigation when none of the people involved have any memory of the subject at hand? The Consciousness Plague makes people loose all memory of a small portion of their lives. A good mystery at any level and a good read.

  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert A. Heinlein

    Because the early Lunar colonies were settled by Earth "convicts", by 2075, most inhabitants were the descendants of such convicts. This is the story of their fight for political freedom and "national" independence.

  • Snow Crash - Neil Stephenson

    Pizza delivery by the Mafia in 1/2 hour or you get $1M; Virtual reality that is more real than real reality; A computer virus that crashes the human brain; Current political trends extrapolated into the future; If you're looking for something to really get you thinking about bizarre possibilities and open up your mind, this is it. An extraordinary experience. I highly recommend it.

 

Non-Fiction:

  • Ben Franklin: An American Life - Walter Isaacson

  • Beating Back the Devil - Maryn McKenna

  • Entanglement - Amir D. Aczel

  • The Fabric of the Cosmos - Brian Greene

  • Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow

  • The Universe in a Nutshell - Stephen Hawking

  • Linked

  • The World is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman

  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki

  • Emotional Intelligence - Daniel Goleman

  • Words That Work - Dr. Frank Luntz

    I have not read this one yet, but it sounds very interesting.

     

Political / Philosophical:

 

  • Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

    • Atlas Shrugged is a novel about a man and a society's philosophical struggle. This is Rand's 1950s classic that portrays the logical conclusion of  government and society ignoring the real source of wealth. It is eerie in its prognostication of current events. A must read for anyone who wants to understand why things are happening as they are in today's world.

  • The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

    • This novel portrays an architect's struggle to create excellence in a society that can only understand  mediocrity and decadence.

  • Something for Nothing - Brian Tracy

  • America Alone - Mark Steyn

  • The Coming China Wars - Peter Navarro

  • On Intelligence - Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee

  • Fighting Terrorism - Benjamin Netanyahu

  • Rebel-in-Chief - Fred Barnes

  • Whatever It Takes - J. D. Hayworth and Joseph J. Eule

  • The Looming Tower - Lawrence Wright

  • Code Name God - Mani Bhaumik

  • The 9-11 Commission Report

  • The Bell Curve - Richard J Herrnstein and Charles Murray