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: $3.67

4.1 out of 5 stars
(37 customer reviews)

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

by Grace Llewellyn

Lowest Price: $21.50

4.4 out of 5 stars
(128 customer reviews)

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

by William Deresiewicz

Lowest Price: $1.12

4.3 out of 5 stars
(219 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: $4.99

4.5 out of 5 stars
(1269 customer reviews)

Anything You Want

by Derek Sivers

Lowest Price: $0.01

4.7 out of 5 stars
(408 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: $3.41

4.3 out of 5 stars
(157 customer reviews)

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

by Steven Pressfield

Lowest Price: $7.40

4.5 out of 5 stars
(2554 customer reviews)

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

by Matthew B. Crawford

Lowest Price: $2.30

3.9 out of 5 stars
(402 customer reviews)

Show Your Work!

by Austin Kleon

Lowest Price: $5.16

4.6 out of 5 stars
(462 customer reviews)

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

by Austin Kleon

Lowest Price: $4.63

4.6 out of 5 stars
(1633 customer reviews)

Psychology

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

by Alain De Botton

Lowest Price: $6.09

4.0 out of 5 stars
(175 customer reviews)

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

by Daniel H. Pink

Lowest Price: $1.34

4.4 out of 5 stars
(997 customer reviews)

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

by Geoff Colvin

Lowest Price: $0.13

4.3 out of 5 stars
(391 customer reviews)

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Lowest Price: $4.16

4.7 out of 5 stars
(955 customer reviews)

Economics, Health, History, and Everything Else

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

by Marc Reisner

Lowest Price: $1.49

4.6 out of 5 stars
(388 customer reviews)

The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity

by Russell Roberts

Lowest Price: $4.25

4.4 out of 5 stars
(71 customer reviews)

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

by Gary Taubes

Lowest Price: $3.82

4.5 out of 5 stars
(864 customer reviews)

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

by Deirdre N. McCloskey

Lowest Price: $13.33

3.8 out of 5 stars
(25 customer reviews)

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

by Matt Ridley

Lowest Price: $4.81

4.5 out of 5 stars
(374 customer reviews)

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

by Rolf Potts

Lowest Price: $4.59

4.4 out of 5 stars
(399 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: $14.99

4.8 out of 5 stars
(21 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: $6.70

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