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Reading List - Neil deGrasse Tyson's Essential Book List

From a Neil deGrasse Tyson Reddit AMA

Back in 2012, Neil deGrasse Tyson did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit. Amongst all the other questions that were asked of him by Reddit users, someone asked him 'Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet?' His answer consisted of the books listed below, along with his reasons for choosing them.

cover page for the Global Grey edition of The Bible: The King James Version
The Bible

The King James Version

cover page for the Global Grey edition of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
The Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

cover page for the Global Grey edition of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Gulliver’s Travels

Jonathan Swift

cover page for the Global Grey edition of The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine

cover page for the Global Grey edition of The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
The Prince

Niccolo Machiavelli


1. The Bible. To learn that it's easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself.
2. The System of the World by Isaac Newton. To learn that the universe is a knowable place.
3. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. To learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth.
4. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. To learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos.
5. The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. To learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.
6. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. To learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself.
7. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. To learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art.
8. The Prince by Machiavelli. To learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it.




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