Thinking Through Books

There seems to be something going around on web-logs and social media concerning ten (or so) books which people consider personally important and/or exerted considerable influence upon their thinking. Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, for instance, has posted hers; my Facebook feed is filled with at least a dozen more such lists. Because I would hate to feel left out from the fun, I offer below my own ten titles (well eleven) with the preliminary remark that I am in considerable less agreement with these books now than when I first read them. In a sense they represent stepping stones on my less-than-linear journey to wherever I happen to be today. I have purposefully left off a large number of “Great Books” which everyone who is capable should try and digest at some point in their lives (e.g., Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, St. Augustine’s Confessions, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, and so forth). I have also left off any and all explicitly Catholic works, mainly because I plan to dedicate another post to them in the future. I imagine that some of you will be surprised by at least one or two title that pops up on the list below. I am not, for the time being, adding any explanations. Enjoy, and feel free to share yours if you are so inclined.

  1. Natural Right and History – Leo Strauss
  2. The Concept of the Political – Carl Schmitt
  3. Economic Analysis of Law (7th Edition) – Richard Posner
  4. Simple Rules for a Complex World – Richard Epstein
  5. The Limits of International Law – Jack Goldsmith & Eric Posner
  6. Journals: 1973-1983 – Fr. Alexander Schmemann
  7. The Way to Nicaea/The Nicene Faith – Fr. John Behr
  8. Anamnesis – Eric Voegelin
  9. Earthly Powers/Sacred Causes – Michael Burleigh
  10. Meaning in History – Karl Lowith