Books in a Sentence: 2018

The Brothers Karamazov:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Of the many varying foundations one can build existence upon, all crumble to the unbearable suffering of the world but one, which stands bowing in muted reverence.

Crime and Punishment:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Even the sharpest axe shatters into a million pieces when attempting to sever itself from its embodied moral substrate, only to be mended through dying to the unknown.

Notes from the Underground:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

To see the world as an assemblage of facts while ignoring the irrational war between destruction and the ideal raging within is to know nothing of Being.

Civilization and its Discontents:

Sigmund Freud

Culture ensures that humanity will forever anguish in the suppression of its instincts, but we prefer to be well-fed and discontent rather than starving and without word.

Man’s Search for Meaning:

Victor Frankl

Life can malevolently tear everything away from us except for faith in the assumption that life is meaningful, the choice of which is always in our hands.

The Gulag Archipelago:

Alexander Solzehnyztsin

Each individual has the capacity for heroic good and merciless evil and it is our responsibility to choose to make the world a little more good or a little more evil.

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich:

Alexander Solzehnyztsin

The arbitrary suffering of ideological imprisonment can only be administered in the grips of deceit, tolerated through devout humanism, and transcended by irrationally submitting to the Ideal.


George Orwell

The work of a prophetic man who bravely went into the darkest battles of the 20th century ideological front, sacrificing himself to show us the horror that may come so those of us who are blind can see.

The Road to Wigan Pier:

George Orwell

We must ask ourselves whether our righteousness stems from compassion for those with less or hatred for those with more, for the former is true virtue and the latter spreads darkness through the veins of our society, slowly infecting all that it touches.

Animal Farm:

George Orwell

Revolutions are often required to wipe oppression clean and improve the lives of the masses, but how tempting it is for new leaders to dip into the same jar of corruption fondled by past tyrants.

A Brave New World:

Aldous Huxley

Pleasure can be a suffocating prison and we must consider what we are sacrificing as we build a comfort-centric world.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt:

Edmund Morris

” The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…”

The Unauthorized Biography of Kim Jong Il:

Michael Malice

This is how tyrants are made.

The Grapes of Wrath:

John Steinbeck

Everywhere we look, history is filled with humble individuals who quietly transcend the harshest reality without anyone ever knowing.

The Old Man and the Sea:

Ernest Hemingway

Happiness? No, that is not the meaning of life, it’s shouldering the biggest load you can bear and not caring if anyone notices.

Story of Your Life:

Ted Chiang

If we could see the future, in all of its joy and suffering, would we act any different?

Black Swan:

Nassim Taleb

As statisticians, anomalies mess with our predictive models, yet in life, anomalies mess with the structure of reality.


Nassim Taleb

We are not fragile machines, we are hormetic beings that need stress to be strong.

Fooled by Randomness:

Nassim Taleb

We are so driven to interpret the world through narrative that we hardly notice when we convince ourselves that we have found patterns in chaos.

Skin in the Game:

Nassim Taleb

Unhealthy societies separate the warrior and the intellectual, eventually resulting in cowards leading and fools fighting.

Between the World and Me:

Ta-nehisi Coates

A deeply thoughtful and raw account of a man honestly grappling with how to usher the innocence of youth into a world of oppression and pain.

My Beautiful Struggle:

Ta-nehisi Coates

In this unjust world, every person, every hero, holds the most inspiring story of struggle and triumph.

Modern Man in Search of a Soul:

Carl Jung

Our waking mind is but a small boat floating on a vast and uncontrollable sea teeming with mysterious creatures and currents, but we have a compass.

Man and his Symbols

Carl Jung (and others)

Spewing from the depths of our collective psyche, subconscious contents are manifested into the conscious world through symbols and images.

The Communist Manifesto:

Karl Marx

Inequality can only be slain once and for all by burning down the very idea of value and beauty, for no hierarchy can exist in a pile of ashes, and no ash can be distinguished from another.

The Road to Serfdom:

Friedrich Hayek

As knowledge is finite and information is infinite, tragedies can become statistics as they scale with the size of centralized power.

The Will to Doubt:

Bertrand Russell

Russell proposes that reason and skepticism, our highest faculties, must be adopted by every individual if we are to cure societal ills.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up:

Marie Kondo

Life is too short to be surrounded by things we do not like.

Dawn of the New Everything:

Jaron Lanier

If virtual/augmented reality can create convincing experience, what is reality?

The Righteous Mind:

Jonathan Haidt

Mostly fixed personality traits largely influence individual and societal morality and can show us how both sides of the ideological spectrum generally consist of good people.

Starting Strength

Mark Rippletoe

The most thorough encyclopedia of raw, basic human strength and the most convincing case that we are better when we are stronger.

Movement Matters

Katy Bowman

Physical movement is akin to nutrition, only when we treat walking, squatting, and picking up heavy things like macronutrients and running, hanging, carrying and crawling like micronutrients, can we physically thrive.

Move Your DNA

Katy Bowman

We are animals that evolved to move in a certain way and we must move that way.

Play As If Your Life Depends On It

Frank Forencich

A challenging anthropological study of mammalian play, and how physical play may be in part responsible for moral, social, intellectual, and physical development.

Multiple books

Pavel Tsatsouline

A thorough study of and guide to the development of human strength through the simplest of means centered around the kettlebell.

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