TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017

100 Books to Consider

Another list



TUCSON (A-P) — So let's say, as happened with Classical Greek writings, 90% of all books (and other writings) are lost. Which 10 of the following might be preserved? How would they be? As with most prior empires, no one who can read may be among the remnant population or if initially there be literates they may fail to pass on their literacy as the centuries pass while environmental resources (e.g. trees, fertile soil) build up before civilization reboots typically leading to unsustainable empire building. Over two dozen past empire builders developed writing and the script has never been deciphered. No laws of the universe will be violated if none of the following have readers at some point in the not so distant future. Preserving information, which could include music, art, literature, software, and assorted data (e.g. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics) may merit some concern.

Information packages that might enable those who may restart after crashing to prosper and avoid repeating the pattern of rise and fall would be especially valuable to posterity. Eventually 'we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly', but not if we fail to preserve some human genes (in reproducing bodies), functional minds within a functional society (unlike the mice/rats in Calhoun's experiments), and at least the best of our memes in a form of writing that someone who only knows a spoken language such as may develop in a near or far future.

This implies a Rosetta book an autodidact could use to teach themselves to read an ideographic written language into which the following, and perhaps more (e.g. world literature), has been translated. After the Rosetta book, maybe nine books to cover a primary education in concepts and expand vocabulary, then 90 books to boil down the information that matters in the form of an Encyclopedia. Humans who would rather know than believe could reasonably be expected to read all one hundred books from the Rosetta book through the Encyclopedia (in 8 years at one/month) even if they were the only literate, numerate, and ecolate human in their community. Then maybe some of the following would be available somewhere not many weeks travel away:

  1. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu 6th century BCE
  2. On the Solstice (lost) by Thales of Miletus 6th century BCE
  3. Diamond Sūtra by Siddhārtha Gautama 5th century BCE
  4. The Art of War by Sun Tzu 5th century BCE
  5. The Great World-Ordering (lost) by Democritus 5th century BCE
  6. The Histories by Herodotus 425 BCE
  7. The Republic by Plato 380 BCE
  8. The Elements by Euclid 300 BCE
  9. Zhuangzi by Zhuang Zhou 3rd century BCE
  10. Pithanos (lost teaching on assessing reason/evidence-based claims as probable knowing) by Carneades 2nd century BCE
  11. Parallel Lives by Plutarch early 2nd century CE
  12. The Art of Living: On Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness by Epictetus 2nd century CE
  13. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 170-180
  14. The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius 524
  15. Ching-te ch’üan-teng lu (Record of the Transmission of the Lamp) by Huángbò Xīyùn 9th century
  16. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli 1513
  17. Essays by Michel de Montaigne 1580
  18. The Harmony of the Worlds by Johannes Kepler 1599
  19. Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo 1632
  20. Pensées by Blaise Pascal 1655-1662
  21. Ethics, Demonstrated in Geometrical Order by Baruch de Spinoza 1664-1665
  22. Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton 1687
  23. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume 1748
  24. Common Sense by Thomas Paine 1776
  25. Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant 1781
  26. An Essay on the Principle of Population by Thomas Robert Malthus 1798
  27. The World as Will and Idea by Arthur Schopenhauer 1818
  28. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville 1831
  29. Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau 1854
  30. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill 1859
  31. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin 1859
  32. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain 1883
  33. Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future by Friedrich Nietzsche 1886
  34. My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir 1911
  35. Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell 1910-1913
  36. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein 1914-1918
  37. Relativity: The Special and the General Theory by Albert Einstein 1916
  38. Treatise on the Gods by H. L. Mencken 1930
  39. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell 1933
  40. The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus 1942
  41. The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper 1945
  42. The Perennial Philosophy: An Interpretation of the Great Mystics, East and West by Aldous Huxley 1945
  43. A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell 1945
  44. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell 1949
  45. King Solomon's Ring: New Light on Animals' Ways by Konrad Lorenz 1949
  46. A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold 1949
  47. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer 1951
  48. The Uses of the Past: Profiles of Former Societies by Herbert J. Muller 1952
  49. Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein 1953
  50. The Natural Superiority of Women by Ashley Montagu 1953
  51. Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein 1954
  52. The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions by Huston Smith 1958
  53. The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects by Lewis Mumford 1961
  54. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson 1962
  55. The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote 1963
  56. The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard Feynman 1964
  57. The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal by Desmond Morris 1967
  58. The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James Watson 1968
  59. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey 1968
  60. Population, Resources, and Environment (The Population Bomb) by Paul & Anne Ehrlich 1968
  61. Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner 1971
  62. Environment, Power, and Society by H.T. Odum 1971
  63. The Limits to Growth by Donella Meadows et al. 1972
  64. Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher 1973
  65. Exploring New Ethics for Survival: The Voyage of the Spaceship Beagle by Garrett Hardin 1973
  66. The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher by Lewis Thomas 1974
  67. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson 1975
  68. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins 1976
  69. Steady-State Economics: Toward a Political Economy of Biophysical Equilibrium and Moral Growth by Herman E. Daly 1977
  70. The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence by Carl Sagan 1977
  71. On Human Nature by Edward O. Wilson 1978
  72. Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution by Kenneth E. Boulding 1978
  73. Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter 1979
  74. Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan 1980
  75. A People's History of the United States: 1492 – Present by Howard Zinn 1980
  76. Wholeness and the Implicate Order by David Bohm 1980
  77. The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener by Martin Gardner 1983
  78. "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman 1984
  79. QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter by Richard Feynman 1985
  80. Filters Against Folly: How To Survive Despite Economists, Ecologists, and the Merely Eloquent by Garrett Hardin 1986
  81. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman 1988
  82. The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter 1988
  83. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking 1988
  84. Living within Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Population Taboos by Garrett Hardin 1993
  85. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan 1995
  86. Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life by Daniel Dennett 1995
  87. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond 1997
  88. The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature by David Suzuki 1997
  89. The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia by Garrett Hardin 1999
  90. A Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies by H.T. Odum 2001
  91. The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker 2002
  92. A Short History Of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson 2003
  93. The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris 2004
  94. Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher 2004
  95. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond 2005
  96. Infidel: My Life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali 2006
  97. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins 2006
  98. The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back – and How we Can Still Save Humanity by James Lovelock 2006
  99. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker 2011
  100. Half Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life by E.O. Wilson 2016
  101. ? The Patterning Instinct: A Cultural History of Humanity's Search for Meaning by Jeremy Lent 2017





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