The blinks to What Money Can´t Buy (2013) explain how market-driven thinking – like the introduction of incentives and making everything available for a price – has snuck into almost every sphere of our lives. This means we are often suddenly confronted by serious moral concerns when market morality manifests itself in an area where it doesn’t belong.
These blinks will teach you the ancient wisdom that inspired the modern science of well-being. Your teachers are the greatest ancient philosophers, and each lesson reveals questions and techniques that can help you on your path to leading a good life. Philosophy for Life has been published in 19 countries and was selected as a Times book of the year 2013.
A Force For Good (2015) reveals how you can swap your negative thoughts for positive actions. By taking a closer look at the Dalai Lama’s wisdom and vision, these blinks explain how individuals acting positively can together form a global force of good, driving change in our world through mutual compassion.
Discipline & Punish (1975) is a celebrated work of renowned French philosopher and sociologist Michel Foucault. Foucault studies the history of forms of power, punishment, discipline and surveillance from the French Ancien Régime through to more modern times, seeing it as a reflection of a changing society.
A Brief History of Thought (1996) chronicles the big moments in the history of Western philosophy in a lucid and accessible way – from the Stoicism of classical Greece right through to twentieth-century postmodernism. Not simply a description of abstract ideals, it shows how we can apply the wisdom of the world’s best thinkers to live happier and more meaningful lives.
Everything is F*cked (2019) is a no-holds-barred look at the state of the modern human condition and why so many feel like the world is a lot worse off than it really is. Author Mark Manson looks to pillars of human philosophy, including Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche, to reveal how both the trappings of modern society and concepts such as hope have people focused on the wrong things in life.
The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) is one of the foundational texts of existentialist philosophy. It's both a succinct summary of existentialist thought and a thorough interrogation of its ethical ramifications in the real world. By reflecting on what it means to be human, this book is a call to recognize and act upon one fundamental truth of our existence: that we are free.
The Life You Can Save (2019) is a philosophical exploration of the moral implications of poverty. This provocative treatise asks us to consider if we’re truly doing our part to end human suffering.
How to Live a Good Life (2020), edited by Massimo Pigliucci, Skye Cleary, and Daniel Kaufman, is an introduction to 15 philosophies for living our lives. Ranging from ancient ideologies, through the major religions, to contemporary schools of thought, 15 leading scholars enlighten us with the philosophies that guide their lives.
Morality (2020) is a detailed deconstruction of our current social climate and a lucid account of how we got here. Part intellectual history and part manifesto of moral truths, this thoughtful work uncovers the roots of the rifts in contemporary society and points out a path toward a more just future.
Human Hacking (2021) is a guide to the art of ethical social engineering. Using the same tools of psychology and influence deployed by security hackers, it demonstrates how to boost social interactions in daily life. It covers a range of tips on how to adjust your natural communication tendencies to steer encounters to your advantage, with practical tools on how to influence others using empathy and compassion.
That One Should Disdain Hardships (2020) is a collection of lectures delivered in imperial Rome in the first century CE by the Stoic Gaius Musonius Rufus. Heralded as the “Roman Socrates,” Musonius’s philosophy is anything but academic. Designed to help listeners lead the best possible lives, his lectures hone in on practical, everyday questions. The result? A doctrine that you really can live by.
The Virtue of Selfishness (1964) is an argument in favor of self-interest and capitalist economics. At the time of its publication, it was a bold and original assertion of a new moral creed. This daring work is sure to challenge many deeply held ideals.
Courage is Calling (2021) is both a meditation on bravery and a guide to courageousness. From how to dispel your fears to the benefits of taking small steps first, it gives concrete advice for building courage, and lays out, in writing rich with anecdotes, the simple ways that each of us can become a little bit braver.
Radical Honesty (first published 1993, this edition 2004) is a guide to help you tell the truth. We all lie, all the time, and it’s only through extreme honesty that we can escape from the moralism that surrounds us and truly be ourselves.
What We Owe the Future (2022) makes the case for longtermism – the idea that people today have an obligation to create a good future for successive generations. Using philosophical reasoning, historical anecdotes, and social science research, it argues that the current moment could decide whether future people will live happy, flourishing lives or extraordinarily miserable ones. By carefully considering our actions with respect to issues like AI safety, biotechnology, and value lock-in, we increase the chances that future people will thrive – just as many of us do, now, thanks to people from the past.
On War (1832) is widely considered to be a landmark book on the subject of war. In its serious and thoughtful consideration of why and how states engage in warfare, it continues to be an influential piece of writing centuries later.
Ethics: A Very Short Introduction (2001) does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a clear and accessible introduction to the branch of philosophy that’s concerned with how we ought to treat each other. By exploring key challenges and theories within ethics, Simon Blackburn cuts through philosophical jargon so we can learn to think clearly about how we ought to behave.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) is one of the most influential American novels ever written. Set in a small town in Alabama in the 1930s, it follows the Finch family over three tumultuous years as a trial divides a community. Covering themes of love and hate, innocence and experience, and kindness and cruelty, Harper Lee’s book goes to the heart of human behavior.
Don Quixote (1605) is widely regarded as the first modern novel. Its claim to fame extends beyond historical novelty. For many readers and critics, it remains the greatest novel of its kind. It tells the story of a man who becomes so enchanted by tales of chivalry that he decides to become a knight-errant – a wandering gallant in the style of Lancelot. The self-styled knight who calls himself Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho Panza get themselves into all kinds of absurd mischief, but their foolish quest ultimately brings them something precious: an immortal friendship.
The Analects is a collection of twenty “books” that contain valuable quotes and sayings from the Chinese philosopher Confucius, as well as his disciples. These words of wisdom date back thousands of years, but they have remained remarkably relevant throughout the ages.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647) is a timeless self-help classic. Comprising 300 short but brilliant maxims, it sheds light on how to live your life, achieve success, and win respect. It has remained consistently relevant throughout its nearly 400-year publication history, inspiring the likes of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Verity (2018) is the breakout thriller leaving mystery fans breathless. Taut and tense, with a final plot twist delivered like a sucker-punch, the novel leaves readers questioning everything in the end — especially the truth.
Macbeth (1606) is the Shakespearean tragedy of Scottish general Macbeth and his doomed attempt to seize his country’s throne. His ambitions ignited by a prophecy spoken to him by three witches, Macbeth’s path to power begins with anxiety and reticence and ends with callousness and cruelty. His story is a timeless exploration of guilt, paranoia, madness, prophecy, and the evils of ambition.
Crime and Punishment (1866) is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Russian literature. It follows a young man called Rodion Raskolnikov – first as he plots to kill an elderly pawnbroker, then as he commits the deed, and finally as he confronts the many consequences of his actions. Emotionally poignant as well as philosophically and psychologically complex, the novel has left a visible mark on generations of writers, thinkers, and artists ever since its publication.
Heart of Darkness (1899) is a classic novella that explores themes of imperialism, power dynamics, and morality. It tells the story of sailor Charles Marlow, who becomes captain of a river steamboat for a Belgian ivory trade company Africa and witnesses the brutal reality of European colonialism. Marlow becomes fascinated with the mysterious ivory trader Kurtz – a mad genius who commands a trading post deep in the jungle.
Humanly Possible (2023) traces the roots of humanism in literature and science back through history. While telling the stories of the great humanist thinkers, it sheds light on humanity today as well as how we can better relate to our lives and environment through humanist beliefs and pursuits.
The Brothers Karamazov (1879) follows the events, machinations, and tragedies of the Karamazov family over the course of four critical days in an unnamed town in Russia. As tensions within the household simmer and seeth into a stunning climax, we are treated to one of the most penetrating explorations of religion, faith, and doubt in all of world literature.
The Hunger Games (2008) is the first volume of the popular YA fantasy trilogy. In the post-apocalyptic future state of Panem, teenagers participate in a brutal yearly game show where they compete against each other in a deadly obstacle arena. When her sister is drafted for the games, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place – not realizing she’ll end up fighting for something bigger than mere survival.
A Theory of Justice (1971) is a seminal work of political philosophy, in the social contract tradition. One of the most widely debated philosophical works of the twentieth century, it provides a framework for evaluating societies and social outcomes in terms of justice, fairness, and rights.
The Metamorphosis (1915) is an allegorical novella about what happens when the main character, Gregor Samsa, is transformed into a bug. It grapples with the themes of alienation, the absurdity of life, and the power of change.
The Wager (2023) recounts the unbelievable-but-true story of the doomed adventure taken by those aboard the HMS Wager. This Royal Navy ship was meant to sail the world and plunder Spanish treasure, but in 1741 it was shipwrecked while trying to sail around Cape Horn. This is the story of how a crew of hundreds dwindled to just a handful of survivors.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) is a compelling indictment of slavery. Describing the many trials of Uncle Tom, its long-suffering enslaved protagonist, the story reveals the horrors of America’s “peculiar institution” while showing how Christian love can triumph over evil. It played a pivotal role in the abolition of slavery and remains one of the most important American novels ever written.
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) is an iconic late-Victorian gothic novel that centers on the young aesthete Dorian, who never seems to age or feel the ill effects of his hedonistic lifestyle, and the supernatural portrait that reveals the truth behind the face Dorian presents to the world.
“Young Goodman Brown” (1835) is a short story that thrusts us into a nightmarish world of witchcraft, religion, sin, and temptation. Composed as an allegory – a story that acts as a thin wrapper for an author’s intended message or meaning – this bite-size tale has much to say on human nature, Christianity, hypocrisy, and our ideas of community.
Sol Price: Retail Revolutionary & Social Innovator (2012) is a deep-dive into the life and legacy of Sol Price, a pivotal figure who reshaped consumer behavior in the United States and across the world. Authored by his son, it illuminates Price's disruptive retail strategies that birthed FedMart and Price Club, and spotlights his steadfast commitment to employee welfare and customer value, a practice that became an ethical cornerstone of his expansive business empire.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883) is a philosophical novel by Friedrich Nietzsche that explores the themes of religion, morality, culture, and society. It follows the journey of Zarathustra, a prophet who leaves his cave to share his wisdom with humanity. Along the way he encounters various characters who test his vision, and grapples with his own shortcomings.
The Coming Wave (2023) is a wake-up call. Artificial intelligence and genetic engineering aren’t just technologies of the future; they’re already here, and remaking the world we live in. More than any transformative technology of the past, they have the ability to make the next decades the best in human history – or the worst. Which path our societies go down is up to us and our ability to think clearly about the risks and rewards ahead of us.
Ethics (1677) is Spinoza’s enigmatic masterwork that changed philosophy. One of only two published works by the author, with the other published anonymously, the text became a flashpoint for divisions around the nature of god, religion, and nature, as well as a foundation for traditions of western mysticism and spirituality ever since.
Being and Nothingness (1943) is a seminal work of existentialist philosophy. It explores the major themes of existentialism, such as the intricacies of human consciousness, free will, and the interplay of objectivity and subjectivity.