Seven categories. Five only in each. Works that I love or learned from or influenced me or that I return to regularly.


Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862)

Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac (1897)

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

Elliott Arnold, White Falcon (1958) 

Historical Fiction

Mary Renault, The Persian Boy [Alexander the Great, through the eyes of his lover Bagoas]

Robert Harris, Cicero trilogy [Cicero, through the eyes of his scribe Tiro]

Conn Iggulden, Genghis Khan trilogy

Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy [Michelangelo]

David Nevin, Dream West [John Charles Frémont and the far West of the USA], and Eagle’s Cry [James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the Louisiana Purchase]


Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War

William Manchester, A World Lit Only by Fire

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation

Gerald Gunderson, The Wealth Creators: An Entrepreneurial History of the United States

W. T. Jones, A History of Western Philosophy


Armand Marie Leroi, The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science

Galileo Galilei, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina

James Watson, The Double Helix

Richard Feynman, “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” Adventures of a Curious Character

Sherwin Nuland, Doctors: The Biography of Medicine

Biography and Autobiography

Anthony Holden, Tchaikovsky

Robert Massie, Peter the Great

Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small [a veterinarian in Yorkshire]

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself [poetry as autobiography]

Philosophy — General

Plato, Apology and Crito

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

John Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals

Philosophy — Technical

David Kelley, The Evidence of the Senses [epistemology]

Tara Smith, The Virtuous Egoist [ethics]

Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto [aesthetics]

Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels [philosophy of history]

George H. Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God [philosophy of religion]


Stephen Hicks Ph.D

About The Author:

Author: Stephen Hicks Ph.D
Stephen R. C. Hicks PH.D. is the Senior Scholar for the Atlas Society, Professor of Philosophy at Rockford University, and the director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship at Rockford University. In 2010, he won his university's Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Hicks has written four books; Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault, Nietzsche and the Nazis, Entrepreneurial Living, and The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis.

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