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The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors

The Greatest Books of All Time, As Voted by 125 Famous Authors
“Reading is the nourishment that lets you do interesting work,” Jennifer Egan once said. This intersection of reading and writing is both a necessary bi-directional life skill for us mere mortals and a secret of iconic writers’ success, as bespoken by their personal libraries. The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books asks 125 of modernity’s greatest British and American writers — including Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates — “to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time– novels, story collections, plays, or poems.” Of the 544 separate titles selected, each is assigned a reverse-order point value based on the number position at which it appears on any list — so, a book that tops a list at number one receives 10 points, and a book that graces the bottom, at number ten, receives 1 point. In introducing the lists, David Orr offers a litmus test for greatness:

https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/01/30/writers-top-ten-favorite-books/

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Neuroscientist Sam Harris Selects 12 Books Everyone Should Read By Maria Popova On an excellent recent episode of The Tim Ferriss Show — one of these nine podcasts for a fuller life — neuroscientist Sam Harris answered a listener’s question inquiring what books everyone should read. As a lover of notable reading lists and an ardent admirer of Harris’s mind and work, I was thrilled to hear his recommendations — but as each one rolled by, it brought with it an ebbing anticipatory anxiety that he too might fall prey to male intellectuals’ tendency to extoll almost exclusively the work of other male intellectuals. (Look no further than Neil deGrasse Tyson’s reading list for evidence.) And indeed Harris did — the books he recommended on the show, however outstanding, were all by men. Complement with the reading lists of Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Carl Sagan, and Alan Turing, then revisit Harris on the paradox of meditation and subscribe to The Tim Ferriss Show here.

philosophy It’s obvious that modern civilization is reaching a point of critical mass. The human species is about to make the next step into an existence we have been long working towards. This new way of being has much to do with identity, the individual/collective dichotomy, and the inherent need to belong to something bigger. Deciding issues of personal law - OPINION Thirteen years ago, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, pleaded in a piece titled ‘Unifying personal laws’ in The Hindu (September 6, 2003): “My powerful plea is that the personal laws may be reformed from within, without a quantum leap into a common code. Remarkable changes in Islamic laws are possible without violating the Quran but adopting progressive hermeneutics.” The issue described as ‘triple talaq’ has unnecessarily been confused with the issue of a uniform civil code, thus thrusting India’s minority Muslim community into the defensive.

Brian Eno’s Reading List of Twenty Books Essential for Sustaining Human Civilization By Maria Popova UPDATE: The folks from the Long Now have kindly asked me to contribute to the Manual for Civilization library — here is my own reading list. There is something inescapably alluring about the reading lists of cultural icons, perhaps because in recognizing that creativity is combinatorial and fueled by networked knowledge, we intuitively long to emulate the greatness of an admired mind by replicating the bits and pieces, in this case the ideas found in beloved books, that went into constructing it. After the reading lists of Carl Sagan, Alan Turing, Nick Cave, and David Bowie, now comes one from Brian Eno — pioneering musician, wise diarist, oblique strategist of creativity — compiled for the Long Now Foundation’s Manual for Civilization, a collaboratively curated library for long-term thinking. Join me in supporting the Manual for Civilization, then revisit Eno’s insights on art.

The Four Desires Driving All Human Behavior: Bertrand Russell’s Magnificent Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872–February 2, 1970) endures as one of humanity’s most lucid and luminous minds — an oracle of timeless wisdom on everything from what “the good life” really means to why “fruitful monotony” is essential for happiness to love, sex, and our moral superstitions. In 1950, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.” On December 11 of that year, 78-year-old Russell took the podium in Stockholm to receive the grand accolade. Later included in Nobel Writers on Writing (public library) — which also gave us Pearl S.

What Mark Zuckerberg taught Sequoia Capital's Mike Vernal about leadership — Quartz Since its discovery in 2008, astronomers have been puzzled by a cosmic mystery so vexing that it has even led some to question whether the general theory of relativity—Einstein’s masterpiece theory of gravity—is wrong on cosmic scales. The trouble is that light travelling through the universe does not seem to be affected by the gravity of large structures such as galaxy clusters in the way that Einstein had predicted. Now we have created the largest ever map of the universe’s voids—empty regions or “holes” in space—and superclusters, which are regions with more galaxies and matter than average. This has proven Einstein right, but has reintroduced another mystery.

25 Essential Books That Every College Student Should Read There is no college student who would like reading books, they say. Can you believe it? We hardly think so! Yes, reading is fashionable. Again. And every college student is always in fashion as a rule. David Kaiser's top 10 books about quantum theory Quantum theory has been with us, in one form or another, for more than a century. Yet the subject still manages to fascinate - and occasionally befuddle - physicists and nonspecialists alike. Some of its central tenets seem outlandishly at odds with our common sense. Particles tunnel through walls; cats seems to hang suspended, at least in Erwin Schrödinger's description, half-dead and half-alive; tiny chunks of matter separated by lightyears retain some "spooky" entanglement. For all that, quantum theory remains the most precise scientific theory in the history of the universe, with some theoretical calculations matching experimental measurements all the way out to 13 decimal places. The beautiful and beguiling concepts of quantum theory have attracted many expositors, several of whom have responded with grace and whimsy.

Dostoyevsky on Why There Are No Bad People Legendary Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky (November 11, 1821–February 9, 1881) is best known as one of literary history’s titans, but he was also a brilliant entrepreneur and pioneer of self-publishing. Under the auspices of his enterprising wife Anna, Dostoyevsky overcame his ruinous gambling addiction to become Russia’s first self-published author. But it was the release of A Writer’s Diary (public library) — the same collection of his nonfiction and fiction writings that gave us Dostoyevsky’s memorable recollection of how he discovered the meaning of life in a dream — that turned him into a national brand. In February of 1876, reflecting on the unanimous acclaim with which the first volume of the journal had been received, 55-year-old Dostoyevsky contemplates the paradox of people-pleasing and writes in the very diary whose success he is pondering: I am interested only in the question: is it, or is it not, good that I have pleased everybody?

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