Recommended Reading

My all-time favorite books. Ignore them at your own peril.

Education

A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling

by John Taylor Gatto

Lowest Price: $2.85

4.2 out of 5 stars
(39 customer reviews)

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education

by Grace Llewellyn

Lowest Price: $7.99

4.4 out of 5 stars
(130 customer reviews)

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life

by William Deresiewicz

Lowest Price: $3.00

4.2 out of 5 stars
(225 customer reviews)

Work & Entrepreneurship

The 0 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

by Chris Guillebeau

Lowest Price: $5.77

4.4 out of 5 stars
(1336 customer reviews)

Anything You Want

by Derek Sivers

Lowest Price: $1.65

4.7 out of 5 stars
(445 customer reviews)

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World

by Tina Seelig

Lowest Price: $1.92

4.3 out of 5 stars
(163 customer reviews)

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

by Steven Pressfield

Lowest Price: $5.55

4.5 out of 5 stars
(2759 customer reviews)

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

by Matthew B. Crawford

Lowest Price: $1.94

4.0 out of 5 stars
(417 customer reviews)

Show Your Work!

by Austin Kleon

Lowest Price: $3.09

4.6 out of 5 stars
(506 customer reviews)

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

by Austin Kleon

Lowest Price: $2.96

4.6 out of 5 stars
(1794 customer reviews)

Psychology

Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion

by Alain De Botton

Lowest Price: $5.64

4.0 out of 5 stars
(178 customer reviews)

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

by Daniel H. Pink

Lowest Price: $1.60

4.4 out of 5 stars
(1037 customer reviews)

Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else

by Geoff Colvin

Lowest Price: $1.79

4.3 out of 5 stars
(405 customer reviews)

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Lowest Price: $3.33

4.7 out of 5 stars
(984 customer reviews)

Economics, Health, History, and Everything Else

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition

by Marc Reisner

Lowest Price: $3.52

4.6 out of 5 stars
(405 customer reviews)

The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity

by Russell Roberts

Lowest Price: $8.49

4.3 out of 5 stars
(73 customer reviews)

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health

by Gary Taubes

Lowest Price: $2.24

4.5 out of 5 stars
(887 customer reviews)

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World

by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Lowest Price: $6.56

3.8 out of 5 stars
(25 customer reviews)

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves (P.S.)

by Matt Ridley

Lowest Price: $1.80

4.5 out of 5 stars
(383 customer reviews)

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

by Rolf Potts

Lowest Price: $5.29

4.5 out of 5 stars
(424 customer reviews)

My Books (I’m biased)

The Art of Self-Directed Learning: 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education

by Blake Boles

Lowest Price: $10.85

4.8 out of 5 stars
(22 customer reviews)

The Unschool Adventures Guide to Online Travel Fundraising

by Blake Boles

Lowest Price:

5.0 out of 5 stars
(1 customer reviews)

Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree

by Blake Boles

Lowest Price: $3.44

4.8 out of 5 stars
(49 customer reviews)

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Books That Affected Me Most, By Year:

  • 2000 (age 18): Fast Food Nation
  • 2001 (age 19): The Dharma Bums
  • 2002 (age 20): Beyond Backpacking
  • 2003 (age 21): A Different Kind of Teacher
  • 2004 (age 22): His Dark Materials trilogy / Lord of the Rings trilogy [tie]
  • 2005 (age 23): Ishmael
  • 2006 (age 24): East of Eden
  • 2007 (age 25): Atlas Shrugged
  • 2008 (age 26): The 4-Hour Work-Week
  • 2009 (age 27): Shop Class as Soulcraft
  • 2010 (age 28): The Rational Optimist
  • 2011 (age 29): Drive
  • 2012 (age 30): The War of Art
  • 2013 (age 31): Steal Like an Artist
  • 2014 (age 32): Excellent Sheep
  • 2015 (age 33): Sacred Summits: John Muir’s Greatest Climbs