Books Pyramid

According to “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler, there are three types of books:

  1. Books for fun, amusement, and information. The majority of the books are in this category.
  2. Books that teach you something new about the world and life. They change the way you think, provide you insights and new perspectives. You will remember them as enlightening books. However, if you will read them again in a few years, they will have nothing new to offer: you already learned and took whatever you could. You grew up.
  3. At the top of the pyramid, there is a limited list of great, timeless books that grow with you. They provide you new insights and new perspectives at any stage of life. Every time you read them you discover and learn something new that you were not able to see before.

This is something I started feeling a bit before reading Adler’s book, and reading his book definitely helped me see it more clearly. Over the past few months, I switched my focus from type 2 books to type 3. I still read type 2 books but put most of my reading efforts on type 3. I rarely read type 1.

My first type 3 batch includes the following:

  1. The Bhagavad Gita
  2. Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl)
  3. Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse)
  4. The Principles of Psychology (William James)
  5. Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle)
  6. Meditations (Marcus Aurelius)
  7. A Theory of Human Motivation (Abraham Maslow)
  8. The Art of War (Sun Tzu)
  9. Plato: Complete Works (Plato)
  10. On the Origin of Species (Charles Darwin)
  11. Letters from a Stoic (Seneca)
  12. Utilitarianism (John Stuart Mill)
  13. Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Immanuel Kant)