A list of my favorite authors, books, essays, and collected works. Updated yearly. You can find my Substack recommendations over at A Work in Progress.

Philosophy / Politics

  • Nietzsche (Everything)
    Ignoring Nietzsche is a mistake. Disregard popular misconceptions about him while also discounting his later work. “Each of us can discover a different Nietzsche to admire and/or detest.” — Shelley Frisch.
  • Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography
    Rüdiger Safranski · Highly recommend. Extremely easy to read and covers all of Nietzsche's work in the context of his life. A fantastic supplement to the primary sources.
  • The Human Condition
    Hannah Arendt · Prescient book, written in 1958 but diagnoses a lot of "modern" problems. Characteristically Arendtian, but easier to contextualize than some of her other work. Helpful introduction to Ancient Greek philosophy.
  • The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom
    James Burnham · A book you cannot unsee. Permanently changes the way you analyze and view politics.
  • Essays and Aphorisms
    Arthur Schopenhauer · A great collection of essays. Stylistically brilliant with tons of memorable one-liners.
  • In the Presence of Schopenhauer
    Michel Houellebecq · In Schopenhauer, Houellebecq found a companion. This short book shines a light on Houellebecq's worldview. Crucial if you want to understand Houellebecq.
  • The End of History and the Last Man
    Francis Fukuyama · Fukuyama was right. Strong and widely misunderstood thesis, more relevant with each passing day. Written for the modern reader, weaves a beautiful tapestry of history and philosophy. Also a great introduction to Hegel and supplement to Nietzsche.


  • The Elementary Particles
    Michel Houellebecq · My favorite from Houellebecq thus far. Warning: graphic and gruesome at times, but another instance of an author presciently diagnosing some of our modern ills.
  • The Map and The Territory
    Michel Houellebecq · The most palatable of Houellebecq's novels and a very good introduction to his thinking. Touches on a wide variety of Houellebecqian themes.
  • The Complete Short Stories
    Ernest Hemingway · Hemingway at his best. Memorable stories include "The Snows of Kilimanjaro", "Che Te Dice La Patria?", "Today is Friday", and "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber".
  • The Sun Also Rises
    Ernest Hemingway · Simple writing that reads as if you were watching a movie in your head. Good gateway drug if you want to get back into fiction.
  • The Brothers Karamazov
    Fyodor Dostoevsky · Nietzsche will make you mean and then Dostoevsky will save you. Long and complex, a book that calls to be reread over the course of a lifetime.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
    Robert Pirsig · An enjoyable read. Another good gateway drug to get you back into fiction if that's what your looking for.


  • Cuba
    Erna Fergusson · Best book on Cuba that I have ever read. Shines a light on 1940s pre-revolutionary Cuba from a first-person perspective. The author sits down for a coffee with my grandfather. Tough to find a copy but I've linked to the Goodreads for those interested.
  • The Sugar King of Havana
    John Paul Rathbone · Another great book on Cuba. It is every Cuban American's dream to tell the story of the Revolution while weaving in some family history. Great insight on Julio Lobo, very much a live-player in the tragic Cuban drama.
  • Leonardo da Vinci
    Walter Isaacson · A memorable biography of a brilliant and heretical figure. So good that years later it prompted me to write an essay.
  • Bolívar
    Marie Arana · Fun read, does not shy away from the complex details of such a monumental figure. Doubles as a lesson in Latin American history.
  • The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
    Jacob Burckhardt · Fascinating look into some of the driving forces behind a Golden Age. I arrived here by way of Nietzsche, it explains some of the historical motivations behind certain aspects of his philosophy. Coined "the state as a work of art".
  • Don't Tell Me I Can't
    Cole Summers · You'll read it in an hour and will never forget it. Raw, concentrated optimism straight from the mind of a 14 year-old.
  • The Timeless Way of Building
    Christopher Alexander · Contains secrets of the universe. A wonderful introduction into the world of a seminal and perenially underrated thinker. Worth buying despite being out of print.
  • The War of Art
    Steven Pressfield · The only "self-help" style book you'll find me recommending. Pressfield understands the fundamental nature of creativity.
  • A Moveable Feast
    Ernest Hemingway · Allegedly a work of fiction but not really. A great look into Hemingway's time in Paris with fun anecdotes about Gertude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Essays / Speeches


  • Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame
    Charles Bukowski · Turns out you can just buy a book of poems and sit for 30 minutes straight reading poem after poem, one after the other.