Beginning to learn about any subject can be daunting. One is confronted (almost without exception) by an overwhelming number of books, most of which are less than helpful, some of which are informative, and a few of which will prove to be life changing. Since life is finite, we would all prefer to read as few of the first and as many of the last as possible. But how do we evaluate the content of the books without first reading them? Judging books by their covers is of no help.

To further complicate the task, the helpfulness of any particular book sometimes depends on when the reader engages with it. Some books presuppose a familiarity with other books, and if that familiarity is missing, then the reader is likely to miss the point in part or maybe even entirely. How do we avoid starting from the wrong spot or wasting our time reading books that will lead us down the wrong path?

In most instances we seek the advice and guidance of those who are reputed to know the things we would like to learn. During our school years, we can easily turn to our best teachers. But as adults who are not in constant contact with the academic world, we are often left to our own devices. The reading lists compiled here are intended to at least point readers in the right direction. Every single book recommended in these lists will repay many times over the effort expended to read it, think about it, and understand it. That much we can promise.

If you are interested in more structured guidance in reading these works, we recommend checking out The Gymnasium (our email newsletter where we share reading notes, conceptual diagrams, subscriber questions, and reading groups), which you will find here.

Book Lists

Other Fellowships, Programs, and Courses

Below you will find fellowships, programs, and courses offered by other organizations. Think of their inclusion on these lists as a limited endorsement (which should not be presumed to be reciprocated). We mention them because we have found them to be useful, helpful, or insightful, but your mileage may vary. Most of them are free.

For Young Adults and Professionals

For High School Students and Recent Graduates

For Middle School and High School Teachers

Online Courses


To share other opportunities you think should be included, please contact us here.