A List of Lists of Books Recommended by Famous (and Somewhat Famous) People
In 2011 I wrote a list of lists of books and it has remained a perennial favorite till the present. I figured it was time to revisit the list. The revamped list has expanded far beyond the original and as such needs to be broken down into sections. This section consists of lists of books recommended by famous (or semi-famous) individuals.
Osama Bin Laden
36 Books: Brian Ries. Here Are the Books Osama Bin Laden Was Reading. Mashable, May 20, 2015.
Bin Laden was a serious reader – of serious literature. Check out this fascinating list that includes titles such as Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D., Handbook of International Law, and Obama’s Wars. It seems Bin Laden took seriously the adage to know one’s enemy.
75 Books: Maria Popova. David Bowie’s Formative Reading List of 75 Favorite Books. Brain Pickings, Nov. 3, 2013.
All but two of Bowie’s recommended books were published during his lifetime, and the two that weren’t were published within 2 years of his birth. They span a wide variety of topics, from poetry to fiction to history.
76 Books: Maria Popova. Stewart Brand’s Reading List: 76 Books to Sustain and Rebuild Humanity. Brain Pickings, March 7, 2014.
American author, co-founder of Long Now and editor of The Whole Earth catalog, gives us his list of must-read books.
10 Books: Maria Popova. Carl Sagan’s Reading List. Brain Pickings, July 11, 2012.
A small sample of Carl Sagan’s reading list.
20 Books: Maria Popova. Brian Eno’s Reading List. Brain Pickings, March 3, 2014.
Wikipedia says he is a musician, composer, record producer, singer, visual artist, and one of the principal innovators of ambient music.
Clifton Fadiman (and John S. Major)
133 Books: Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major. The New Lifetime Reading Plan, 4th ed, Interleaves, 1997.
American intellectual, author, editor and radio and television personality Clifton Fadiman gives us his “lifetime reading plan.” The original was authored solely by Clifton, but this later edition was co-written with John S. Major.
50 Books: Joel Gascoigne. 50 Books That Transformed My Business and Life. Entrepreneur, March 13, 2015.
Co-founder and CEO at Buffer.
6 Books: Viktor Reklaitis. 6 Books Bill Gates Says You Should Read. MarketWatch, October 30, 2014.
Includes a book by Doris Kearns Goodwin, surprising, not Teams of Rivals.
190+ Books: Bill Gates. Book Reviews. Gates Notes, ongoing.
These aren’t necessarily Bill Gates favorite books, but they are books he has reviewed on his blog. This is an ongoing blog series by him, so the number will grow.
12 Books: Maria Popova. Neuroscientist Sam Harris Selects 12 Books Everyone Should Read. Brain Pickings, July 21, 2015.
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist also known for his vocal atheism.
45 Books: Will Hatton. The Forty-Five Best Books To Read On The Road. Matador Network, June 19, 2015.
Will Hatton has compiled an excellent list of captivating stories of travelers far and wide – stories guaranteed to captivate and inspire you.
7 Books: Mark Manson. Mark Manson’s 7 Books That Will Change How You See the World. April 2, 2015.
Manson is an author and blogger. Really great list that includes a summary of each work but Manson is heavy on the profane language.
6 Books: Brittany Levine Beckman. Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List. Mashable, Aug. 14, 2015.
45+ Books: Maria Popova. Leo Tolstoy’s Reading List. Brain Pickings, Sept. 30, 2014.
Tolstoy himself penned this list of recommended reading. He divided his recommendations into age groups, from childhood to age 63, and then further subdivided the list into books recommended as “great”, “very great”, and “enormous.”
5 Books: Maria Popova. Alan Turing’s Reading List. Brain Pickings, March 12, 2012.
16 Books: John Graham Cumming. Alan Turing’s Reading List (with readable links). Feb. 2012.
Alan Turing was a British pioneering computer scientist, mathematician, logician, crypt-analyst and theoretical biologist. This is a list of the books he borrowed from his school library.
Both of these posts reference the same list. Unfortunately I have been unable to find the original list by Alex Bellos. I suppose I could take a jaunt over to The Wayback Machine.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
8 Books: Maria Popova. Neil deGrasse Tyson Selects the Eight Books Every Intelligent Person on the Planet Should Read. Brain Pickings, Dec. 29, 2014.
A fairly standard list of books – The Bible, Newton’s The System of the World, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and so on.