From a 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.
The King James Version
The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
The Origin of Species
The Age of Reason
The Wealth of Nations
The Art of War
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 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy 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.