Great Books - A Liberal Education

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Currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky - Last Updated on 1st April 2023

I reflected recently that, while being a lifelong avid reader, I have both intentionally and unintentionally missed some of the most important texts ever written.

While browsing in a large bookshop recently, I was struck with the common sadness that I will never read all of these books. I will never read even 1% of them. Later that day, I listened to a podcast by Naval Ravikant in which he said something along the lines of, “I don't want to read all the books; I just want to read the best 100 over and over again.”

What a thought. Only a small fraction of books are remembered after a few years, and even fewer truly matter. Why, then, am I worried about not being able to read a large number? My primary concern should be ensuring that the books I read are worthy of my limited time.

The project has been evolving in my mind for a while and has been inspired by:

My intention over the coming years is to read and study these Great Books and document the process along the way. I aim to, as the Graham School puts it, “rigorously explore the foundations of modern Western political and social thought and literature.”

The List

The structure below is split into years as per a traditional education program. Realistically these serve as neat delineations rather than actual expected timeframes.
A crossed through entry indicates it has been read and some entries will link to some thoughts on the text.

Year One

Year Two

Year Three

Year Four