10 Best Philosophy Books To Read In 2019

“Philosophy is mathematics, but for humans.”

That’s what my algebra professor in university used to inform me. And he was right!

Obviously, we are extra dynamic and sophisticated than mere numbers. However on the similar time, the abstract strategies we use to research numbers can be utilized to elucidate human consciousness.

After-all, at one point in historical past, philosophy and arithmetic have been intertwined; they have been practically the identical factor.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Properly, I (and I’m guessing you as properly) grew up in a techno-centric surroundings. Starting from faculty, I used to be taught that I ought to concentrate on tangible things — software improvement, design, engineering, financial system, and so forth. My discipline ought to be “practical” to contribute to society.

Philosophy, literature, arts, poetry? Oh, this stuff don’t matter. You gained’t need those to make a dwelling — they don’t apply to actual life. It’s mental gymnastics!

(Sidenote: I consider we should always attempt to make a LIFE, not merely “make a living”)

Aside from a superficial studying of Plato and Aristotle, we never absolutely dived into the elemental rules.

It’s a pity because I come from a country that gave start to many nice philosophers who fairly literally changed the course of historical past.

Yet, no one might perceive the impression philosophy has on our world. Or, on ourselves.

Aristotle's Metaphysics

Once I turned an adult, and I was hit with the growing pains of maturing, I noticed why we’d like philosophy:

  • It teaches you how you can assume
  • It’s a device to make sense of the world
  • It provides which means to the inherent suffering of life
  • It helps you accept totally different views, thus turning into more empathetic
  • It’s a research of human nature
  • It may maintain you sharp
  • It helps you perceive individuals and your self

So, I began reading. At first, it was troublesome. Sure, it may be fairly exhausting to grasp a philosophy guide absolutely.

However what makes this journey even more durable is that, like math, philosophy has 100s of different subjects and branches.

And that is why I’m scripting this!

In this record, I’ll try to create a short “canon” that provides you with an summary of the must-read philosophy books it’s essential to read. These will assist you will have a holistic understanding of philosophy.

Contemplate it a information that may hopefully steer you in the suitable path.

Prime 10 Philosophy Books That Modified The World

Understand that this record is solely subjective. You gained’t turn out to be an incredible philosopher or a world-class thinker.

However should you manage to learn all of them, you’ll have a better understanding of what we call “philosophy” than 99% of individuals.

Most importantly, I’m assured that your life will rework. It gained’t happen the second you end the 10th e-book, but the ideas and the process you’ll expose your self to will carry over to your day-to-day life.

Let’s start!

1. Republic by Plato


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You’ll be able to’t speak about philosophy with out mentioning the idealistic imaginative and prescient of Plato.

A guide that’s written in the form of a dialogue, between Socrates (Plato’s instructor) and Athenians, it explores a large organize of philosophy subjects. From ethics to phenomenology to ontology.

But the primary focus, as an alternative, the philosophical question this collection of small books tries to deal with, is about justice in man and a city-state (a group, in trendy terms).

Many individuals regard it as the cornerstone of western philosophy, although many concepts are thought-about outdated. That’s up to you to determine.

“Republic” is #1 on this listing because it’s a fantastic introduction to philosophical “logos” and the notion of questioning and breaking down every part to its first rules.

2. Aristotle


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“Wait, that’s a name, not a book.”

I know, naked with me here.

Aristotle’s work is anti-diametrical to Plato’s. They use totally different presuppositions, totally different methods, and arrive at totally different conclusions.

Nonetheless, his philosophy books are equally necessary.

They usually’re particularly relevant to you because they provide a particularly useful categorization of the totally different branches of philosophy.

That’s why I like to recommend you employ Aristotle’s work as a reference text whenever you need to increase your philosophical endeavors.

You’ll find that this man has grappled with pretty much the whole lot there’s to inquire and conclude.

3. Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

Tao Te Ching

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This guide has many things it’s essential unpack. It must be read a number of occasions to understand what it has to offer.

The fascinating half? Everybody will find totally different which means in studying it.

If you wish to perceive the idea of Japanese philosophy and see how it has influenced Western civilization, “The Way Of Tao” is a must-read philosophy guide.

Despite the fact that it’s a spiritual ebook (obviously, it’s about Taoism), the rules and paradigms may be utilized by anybody. That’s the nature of Japanese philosophy.

four. Stoics


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Yes, I know. A bunch of previous, lifeless guys once more.


Once more, I’m not supplying you with a selected e-book to read. When you decide one, you just about learn all of them.

Stoicism, as an concept, isn’t onerous to understand. It’s VERY exhausting to use, although. And perhaps that’s the rationale it has such a profound impact on your life – once you’re in a position to use it effectively.

However, beware. Stoicism has benefit but doesn’t get obsessed with it. I’ve seen many individuals conflate the thought of controlling your emotions by having no feelings at all.

As you dive deeper, you’ll understand that no system is 100% accurate. Take heed to this limitation.

It’s all about perspective, right Epicurus?

5. Crime and Punishment by Dostoy… Dostoefhsl…Dostoevsky!

Crime and Punishment

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(I’ll by no means spell his identify appropriately)

Earlier than everyone begins commenting that this can be a novel… I’m aware.

It’s an outstanding, kick-ass novel, higher than 99% of “philosophy” books that get revealed nowadays.

As you’re reading concerning the moral dilemmas and existential dread of Raskolnikov, you’ll understand that you simply’re reading about humanity as an entire.

I think about this a “dangerous” guide. Dostoyevsky writes about reality. Whatever you are feeling and discover while studying his ebook, know that’s it’s actual and terrifying. Part of you…

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.” ― Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

6. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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Definitely a controversial figure. His concepts will penetrate your consciousness like nothing else.

This e-book accommodates the pervasive paradigms that paved the best way to the postmodern philosophy.

“God is dead” sent waves of panic and despair to many individuals. And sadly, predicted the monstrosities that happened firstly of the 20th century.

A critical philosophy e-book you should learn slowly and punctiliously. Do you recognize the patterns he describes in 2019?

7. Reminiscences, Goals, Reflections by G.C. Jung

Memories, Dreams, Reflections

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I hope you’ve realized by now that what I think about a “philosophy book” isn’t the norm.

Jung is a psychologist. His guide transcends the trade of psychology and touches upon universal truths. His work displays a deep understanding of human nature and divulges a profound fact about ourselves.

“Memories, Dreams, Reflections” is a semi-autobiographical e-book. I selected this one as a result of it’s a light-weight learn compared to his more dense and sophisticated work.

You’ll study his course of and strategies, something that is much more invaluable than his concepts, for my part.

I consider Jung shall be a catalyst for change in the future. You ought to be ready.

8. Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology

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I used to be hesitant to include postmodernists on this listing. Mainly because their work tends to be extraordinarily unorthodox and may lead most people to the improper conclusions (it happened to me!)

But Derrida’s ebook is an exception. It deconstructs western philosophy and judges the very medium philosophy uses; writing.

It’s not a simple ebook to read, however it’s worthwhile. Get ready to query all the things.

9. Pores and skin in The Recreation by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Skin in The Game

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Should you haven’t heard of Taleb, you’re in for a treat.

The deadlifting philosopher is a breath of recent air compared to the New Age hyperboles of the late 20th century.

Rooted in empirical knowledge and real-life experience, Taleb assaults the pseudo-intellectual establishment.

His vitriolic prose is exhilarating to read, albeit he may be quite stubborn in his concepts.

Should you search to equip your self with a “modern” concept, applicable to each single area of your life, “Skin in The Game” oughts to be a part of your library.

10. Maps Of Which means Jordan B. Peterson

Maps Of Meaning

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Have you ever been on-line up to now 12-36 months?

In that case, you’ve encountered at the least a couple of of Peterson’s soundbites.

“Clean your room, bucko!”

I’ve a love-hate relationship with him. I learn “Maps of Meaning” before he turned the mega-start that he’s as we speak. I was pleasantly stunned by the depth and precision he was capable of map the human consciousness.

So, as an alternative of studying his mainstream “12 Rules For Life”, opt-in for the extra in-depth, prolonged, and sophisticated guide.

(Don’t hate me 😛 )

*11. You

Yup, this can be a placeholder on your philosophy ebook.

It might sound ridiculous right now, but if you consider it, probably the most vital philosophers have been individuals like you and me.

Individuals who have questions and sought solutions. People who find themselves thirsty for information and fact.

I invite you to select up your pen or pencil, grab a bit of paper, and begin writing.

You’ll shortly understand that you simply don’t know your thoughts as well as you assume. The more you dig, the extra gold you’ll find.

Honorable mentions

To begin with, this isn’t your typical listing. I’ve neglected so many necessary individuals and philosophical methods it’s not even humorous! You possibly can “grill” me in the feedback under…

But I feel it’s an enough record for anyone who’s trying to learn helpful material…

That stated, there are some individuals I can’t omit:

  • Kant
  • Kierkegaard
  • Wittgenstein
  • Locke
  • Marx

These are a number of the names you’ll see popping up should you hold at it.

Are these philosophy books for learners?


I don’t assume there are particular philosophy books for rookies. The unique texts are superior.
(There are some options, but I feel you’re higher off reading the actual deal)

Positive, it’ll be arduous at first. New, complicated ideas unravel in entrance of your eyes, when you stare on the very nature of your self.

Philosophy may be taxing. And this is precisely why it’s so essential to learn it.

In the age of quick info, prepacked thoughts, and social media platitudes real philosophy can supply a singular problem to your thoughts.

Timeless concepts and strategies change the best way we expect and use our minds.

In 2019, understanding philosophy is as necessary as it’s crucial. I hope you begin your journey at the moment!

– G.Okay

P.S – Hey, be happy to comment in your record of philosophy books. I’m interested by what you’ve been studying! Oh, and don’t overlook to share this submit with all of the bibliophiles you recognize 🙂

Concerning the Writer

George Kourakos is an ad-man by day, a author by night time. He is a mathematician with a artistic aspect. Working full time as a copywriter, George needs to explore his artistic aspect by writing about his favourite subjects.