Essays by Michel de Montaigne (1580) – The works of the French essayist reflect his views of morality, society, and customs in the late sixteenth century.
Confessions by Augustine (398) – This book invites readers to join Augustine in his quest that led him to be one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the history of the church.
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (1532) – The classic handbook of statecraft written four centuries ago by an Italian nobleman recommends guile and craftiness to attain and maintain political power.
Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854) – The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, and manual for self reliance.
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859) – Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, in which he writes of his theories of evolution by natural selection, is one of the most important works of scientific study ever published.
The Complete Works of Plato by Plato (347BC) – Gathers translations of Plato’s works and includes guidance on approaching their reading and study
The Republic by Plato (380BC) – Republic is the central work of the Western world’s most famous philosopher. Essentially an inquiry into morality, Republic also contains crucial arguments and insights into many other areas of philosophy.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr and E. B. White (1918) – This classic book is intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage…
Pensées by Blaise Pascal (1670) – The Pensées is a collection of fragments on theology and philosophy written by 17th-century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal.
Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville (1840) – These notes formed the basis of Democracy in America. This landmark work initiated a dialogue about the nature of democracy and the United States and its people that continues to this day.
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (1938) – A firsthand account of the brutal conditions of the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia includes an introduction by Julian Symons.
The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1782) – In addition to making his mark as a prominent philosopher, educational theorist, and musician, renaissance man Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also a pioneer in the genre of autobiographical writing.
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1848) – In this 1848 publication, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels expound the program and purpose of the Communist League who commissioned the work.
Relativity by Albert Einstein (1917) – In this short book Einstein explains, using the minimum of mathematical terms, the basic ideas and principles of the theory which has shaped the world we live in today.
Das Kapital by Karl Marx (1867) – Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis and generate fresh insights.
The Histories of Herodotus by Herodotus (420BC) – Here is the historian, investigating and judging what he has seen, heard, and read, and seeking out the true causes and consequences of the great deeds of the past.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (167) – With an Introduction that outlines Marcus’s life and career, the essentials of Stoic doctrine, the style and construction of the Meditations, and the work’s ongoing influence.
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (1651) – The state, a union of people, where the will of a single one (the state) is compulsory for everybody, has a task to regulate the relations between all the people. The book was banned several times in England and Russia.
Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882) – A soul-satisfying collection of 12 essays by the noted philosopher and poet who embraced independence, rejected conformity, and loved nature.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929) – In this classic essay, she takes on the establishment, using her gift of language to dissect the world around her and give voice to those who are without.
The Principles of Psychology by William James (1890) – This book marked a turning point in the development of psychology as a science in America.
The Abolition of Man by C. S. Lewis (1943) – C. S. Lewis sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society.
The History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides (450BC) – Thucydides traces the conflict’s roots and provides detailed, knowledgeable analyses of battles and the political atmosphere.
Collected Essays of George Orwell by George Orwell (1961) – In this selection of essays, he ranges from reflections on his boyhood schooling and the profession of writing to his views on the Spanish Civil War and British imperialism.
The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell (1823) – As Johnson’s constant and admiring companion, Boswell was able to record not only the outward events of his life, but also the humour, wit, and sturdy common sense of his conversation.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu (200BC) – As Sun Tzu said the art of war is of vital importants to the State. The treatise by Sun Tzu influenced crucially on a whole military art of the East.
The Annals of Imperial Rome by Cornelius Tacitus (120) – Tacitus’ Annals of Imperial Rome recount the major historical events from the years shortly before the death of Augustus up to the death of Nero in AD 68.
Philosophical Investigations by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1953) – The Philosophical Investigations of Ludwig Wittgenstein present his own distillation of two decades of intense work on the philosophies of mind, language and meaning.
Parallel Lives by Plutarch (120) – Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans or Parallel Lives is a series of biographies of famous men, arranged in tandem to illuminate their common moral virtues or failings, probably written at the beginning of the second century AD.
Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis (1942) – The book brings together C. S. Lewis’s legendary radio broadcasts during the war years, in which he set out simply to explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.
Pragmatism by William James (1907) – This rare book contains an introduction to William James’s ideas of philosophical pragmatism.
Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton (1908) – In the book’s preface Chesterton states the purpose is to attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it.
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche (1886) – Always provocative, the Friedrich Nietzsche of Beyond Good and Evil is at once sceptical psychologist and philosopher-seer, passionately unmasking European society with his piercing insights and uncanny prescience.
Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes (1637) – He deduced that human beings consist of minds and bodies; that these are totally distinct ‘substances’; that God exists and that He ensures we can trust the evidence of our senses.
Tao Te Ching by Laozi (300BC) – Written during the golden age of Chinese philosophy, and composed partly in prose and partly in verse, the “Tao Te Ching” is surely the most terse and economical of the world’s great religious texts.
The Golden Bough by James George Frazer (1890) – The primary aim of this book is to explain the remarkable rule which regulated the succession to the priesthood of Diana at Aricia.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1776) – This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.
The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay (1788) – Scholars have long regarded this work as a milestone in political science and a classic of American political theory.
Analects by Confucius (350BC) – This book detaches the Analects from the Scholastic interpretation and lets these famous sayings speak for themselves.
On Liberty by John Stuart Mill (1859) – In his much quoted, seminal work, On Liberty, John Stuart Mill attempts to establish standards for the relationship between authority and liberty.
The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James (1902) – Soon after its publication, the book entered the canon of psychology and philosophy and has remained in print for over a century.
Ethics by Benedictus de Spinoza (1676) – Spinoza’s magnum opus, the Ethics, was published posthumously in the year of his death. The work opposed Descartes’ philosophy of mind–body dualism, and earned Spinoza recognition as one of Western philosophy’s most important thinkers.
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau (1849) – Naturalist and philosopher Thoreau’s timeless essays on the role of humanity — in the world of nature, and in society and government.
Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington (1901) – Throughout the book, Washington describes his educational philosophy and his hopes and dreams for African Americans.
Memoirs of Cardinal De Retz by Cardinal de Retz (1717) – Rich in titles on English life and social history, this collection spans the world as it was known to eighteenth-century historians and explorers.
A Mathematician’s Apology by G. H. Hardy (1940) – This is a unique account of the fascination of mathematics and of one of its most compelling exponents in modern times.
The Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner (1920) – This hugely influential work marked a turning point in US history and culture, arguing that the nation’s expansion into the Great West was directly linked to its unique spirit.