The Great American Bathroom Book: Volumes 1-3
Single-sitting summaries of all-time great books. A three-volume guide to a classic liberal arts education! Read the second volume, first.

The Tao of Physics
Ancient eastern philosophy meets and marries modern Western Science in this classic book. Cutting edge in the 1970's. Still an inspiring work.

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions
How to think like a computer in finding optimal solutions to very human problems (turns out computers may be more like people than we know).

Engaging story of the critical importance of the precise measurement of longitude in solving vexing navigation problems during the age of exploration.

Atlas Obscura
Travel guide for those with eclectic tastes. Weird, wonderful places to visit, plus stories behind each one. Lengthen your bucket list! Web site here.

The Illustrated Man
Fascinating collection of 18 awesome sci-fi short stories by Ray Bradbury. My favorite book in high school. Still a good read.

Tao Te Ching (Jane English translation)
The best edition of this seminal volume of Taoist philosophy. Little is lost in translation. Still mysterious. Beautifully illustrated.

Return from Tomorrow
Psychiatrist George Ritchie recounts his guided tour through the universe ... while clinically dead for 9 minutes in 1943.

The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment
Never was a book's title more descriptive. Short and very sweet. Read, learn, lighten-up. Experience (or re-experience) the 1960s/1970s Human Potential Movement.

A Ship Called Hope
Lovely book about the story of the 1960s U.S. government hospital ship "Hope" bringing miracles to the poor in North Bali and around the world.

The Boys in the Boat
Gripping story of the rag-tag rowing crew that beat Hitler in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Depression-era pre-WW2 years come alive. Required for sports fans.

When the Legends Die
Hal Borland's tale of a young Ute Indian who has to choose between two worlds. Long required on high school reading lists (yes, Hal and I are related).

Fictional adaptation of the true story of a young stow-away aboard Captain Cook's ship during his secret 1768 voyage to the Southern Hemisphere.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Story of a young seagull, written at the dawn of the human potential movement, who risks it all to master high-speed flight, and finds enlightenment in the process.

Ring of Fire
Book about the Blair Brother's deep exploration of Indonesia, its many cultures and peoples. Later adapted as a four-part PBS series.

The Year of Living Dangerously
Novel set in Jakarta, Indonesia just before the brutal military take-over in September 1965. Film adaptation stars Mel Gibson in his first role.

Catch Me if You Can
Unbelievable true story of con and counterfeiter Frank Abignale, Jr. – who successfully posed as a doctor, lawyer, and airline pilot – before his 19th birthday.

The Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkein's classic work that started it all. The original fantasy novel. Follow the famous adventures of Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf and others through The Shire and beyond.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Angela Duckworth's book positing internal motivation, drive, dedication, and the ability to persist – rather than luck or genius – as the chief factors in living a successful life.

Book Sites

Huge and hugely popular social media site for bibliophiles. Search by genre, get reviews and ratings from 15 million members, thousands of book clubs, and more.

Reading tracker. More personalized version of goodreads, focusing on community and forums. "A free, library-quality catalog to track reading progress or your whole library."

Excellent reviews, recommendations, and interviews with authors (audio + transcripts). You'll go far with NPR.


Ultimate Classics Library
App that brings a enormous library of classic books (50,000+) to your Apple device, free. Includes audio books, as well.

Free Books
Annotated List of 20 great online sources of free book downloads in various formats. Why buy when you can probably find it free online?

Audio, Video, Film

Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon)
Entrancing 1956 French short film produced in post-war Paris. I saw this numerous times in grade school in 16mm. Almost no dialogue. Oscar-winner for best screenplay.

An alternative, sustainable, improved "American Dream." Instead of insatiably craving/acquiring more stuff, minimalism promotes living with less to enjoy life more.

Story Corps
"The StoryCorp Podcast shares unscripted conservations revealing wisdom, courage and poetry in the words of [ordinary] people ..." Drink for the spirit, food for the soul.