Let’s assume you’ve already read the classics: “The Great Gatsby”, “1984”, “Moby Dick”, “The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler”, amongst others. If you haven’t, we suggest a quick Amazon order to get you started.
If you’re already through the likes of The Lord of the Rings, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Heart of Darkness, we encourage you to crack the covers open on some of the good reads listed below.
1. Men Without Women – Ernest Hemingway
Best For: Understanding women classic Hemingway subjects – bullfighting, war, women, more war – in a collection of short stories proving that masculinity lacking a softer touch is a dangerous thing.
2. Money: A Suicide Note – Martin Amis
Best For: Learning restraint by witnessing wealthy transatlantic movie executive, John Self, allow himself whatever he wants whenever he wants it: alcohol, tobacco, pills, pornography, a mountain of junk food. A cautionary tale of a life lived without boundaries.
3. High-Rise – J.G. Ballard
Best For: Navigating block party politics. When the residents of a posh tower block find their sweet set-up falling apart, the response is feral. Minor social differences lead to floor-versus-floor violence. The well-to-do become savages.
4. ABC Of Men’s Fashion – Hardy Amies
Best For: Learning classic wardrobe rules. This pocket encyclopedia was written in 1964 by a Savile Row legend and features tips still 99 percent relevant today. When you get to ‘B’, you can be amused by 150 words on ‘Bowler Hats’, but skip ‘Beachwear’ at your peril: “A plain navy blue shirt with white linen trousers will always outshine any patterned job.”
5. Men Of Style – Josh Sims
Best For: Brushing up on your style guide. Fashion journalist Sims, profiles the best-dressed men of the past century so that you can steal their vibe and create your look using the things that make them so undeniably well-dressed.
6. How Not To Be Wrong – Jordan Ellenberg
Best For: Number critical thinking and number play. If the math you learned in school has slipped your mind, there’s something to be said for this book helping you to re-grasp numbers: a powerful commodity in a post-truth world. You’ll learn to how to analyze important situations at work and at play.
7. The Chimp Paradox – Steve Peters
Best For: Retraining your brain. Peters says our brains are emotional (the chimp bit), logical
(human) and automatically instinctive (like a computer). We can’t shut off the monkey, but with work, the other two parts can control it. Reading this will help you to become more empowered to make more successful choices in life.
8. Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig
Best For: Mental wellbeing. At age 24, Haig was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and contemplating suicide. His memoir of coming back from the brink is an honest, moving and funny exploration of triumph over failing mental health that almost destroyed him.
9. Real Fast Food – Nigel Slater
Best For: Cooking in real life (like, really using your own kitchen). Slater has over 350 recipes that take less than 30 minutes and don’t require much chaffing. The recipes are written so any fool can follow them. His take on bacon? Smoked streaky, nearly crisp, untoasted white bread dipped in the bacon fat, no sauce.
10. The Plantagenets – Dan Jones
Best For: A little bit of history. This book takes in 280 years of England and its kings from 1120, including Crusades, Black Death, civil war, war with France, heroes, legends, sacking of cities and all the rest of it. Truly stirring stuff.
11. The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert
Best For: Reaching the “End Times”. Number six on the list of mass extinction events is happening now, as humankind reduces species diversity on Earth like nothing since the asteroid that finished off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This book, grippingly, reports on what’s happening now, and those times before.