The Unsettling of America

The Unsettling of America Book Cover The Unsettling of America
Wendell Berry
Social Science
September 1, 2015

First published in 1977, it still holds up. A collection of essays from Wendell Berry about the transition to "agribusiness" and its impact on us. The scary part is that in 2018, his arguments are even MORE alarming. We have lost a sense of community. We are destroying nature by chasing profits. Where and when did we go wrong? I feel like this is a must read. It is one of the best books I have ever read.

Tiny Beautiful Things

Tiny Beautiful Things Book Cover Tiny Beautiful Things
Cheryl Strayed
Random House Digital, Inc.

This collection might just contain all the things we need to know. It is profound in so many ways. This is one of those books that you should read over and over until the many (many!) truths that Cheryl Strayed shares with us become embedded in our souls. If that sounds corny to you - you need this book more than anyone.


Resilience Book Cover Resilience
Eric Greitens
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
March 10, 2015

This is in my Top 10 Must Read Books. I also highly recommend Greiten’s “The Heart and the Fist” which is another in my Top 10. This work is a series of letters between the author and a fellow-warrior suffering from severe depression, PTSD, addiction, etc. He uses ancient wisdom to develop this guidebook. Its truly remarkable. To steal from the summary on Amazon, “Resilience” explains how we can build purpose, confront pain, practice compassion, develop a vocation, find a mentor, create happiness, and much more.”

See my Kindle Notes

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy Book Cover Hillbilly Elegy
J. D. Vance
Social Science
June 28, 2016

Vance is a former marine and Yale Law School graduate who gives a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class.

I find myself returning to a famous video clip on Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. He and the band are getting ready to walk off the stage and he squats down, peers out into the audience and asks "ever feel like you've been cheated?"

This book gets at what Rotten was getting at. The decline of white, working-class, Americans - a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over the last forty years. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. It is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Jayber Crow

Jayber Crow Book Cover Jayber Crow
Wendell Berry
Counterpoint Press
August 30, 2001

I am forever grateful to the Art of Manliness website and Nick Offerman for introducing me to the work of Wendell Berry. Jayber Crow was my first introduction. I have since gone on to read Berry's essays, short stories, other novels and poetry. I haven't even put a dent in his catalog. It is hard to put my finger on what I appreciate so much about his work. Every time I read something by Wendell, it always makes me feel like I need to STOP. To slow down. To really re-evaluate what is important and what is just non-sense.

A New Earth

A New Earth Book Cover A New Earth
Eckhart Tolle
Body, Mind & Spirit
Penguin Books

This is one of those books that you can open to a random page, read for a minute, and then just ponder what you read for the rest of the day. Its a book about mindfulness, of letting go, of trying to become more aware, of trying to diminish the power your ego has over you, of quieting that monkey chatter in your brain. It is about realizing that most people do not inhabit a living reality but a conceptualized one. Talk about a gut punch.

Fingerprints of the Gods

Fingerprints Of The Gods Book Cover Fingerprints Of The Gods
Graham Hancock
Random House
January 25, 2011

This is in my Top 10 books. Hancock tags a lot of his posts on Facebook with "things keep getting older." He has made a career of challenging the orthodox thinking on the age of civilzation(s). (And the orthodox don't like being challenged).

This book gets into details about recent discoveries such as: ancient maps that indicate the ancients were capable of complex math well beyond out current thinking. He details the similarities and common characteristics of the myths of Osiris in Egypt and Viracocha in South America. He shows the pyramids at Giza form an exact terrestrial diagram of the three belt stars in the constellation of Orion.

Hancock feels that we are missing a big chunk of our history. He shows that Flood stories are shared by more than 500 different cultures and that all of them share the same symbolic motifs: the one good man, a warning from a god, and the seeds of all living things.

He think the Flood happened 15,000 or so years ago. It is a truly fascinating read.

The War of Art

The War of Art Book Cover The War of Art
Steven Pressfield
January 1, 2012

This is a TOP 10 book for me. Pressfield is one of my favorite writers. His (historical) fiction writing was one of the catalysts that resulted in me going back to school to complete a degree in (Ancient) History. In this work, Pressfield names the nagging, critical voice in our heads “The Resistance.” You will read this again and again. In fact, stop reading this and go buy your own copy.

Read my Kindle Notes