There are over a hundred million books in existence. And the average person only has 8 decades in which to read them. So which books should you choose to read over others before you croak?
It’s a question that’s launched scores of lists and many an argument, and my guest today has fired his own missive in the debate.
His name is James Mustich, he’s been in the book business for over 30 years as a book seller, reviewer, and editor, and he’s created the ultimate book list in his book 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die. Today on the show, James explains his guiding philosophy on the books he decided to include in his list, and how he designed the book to have the feel of browsing through an ideal bookshop. James then makes the case for why book lists are helpful, but should never be seen as strictly prescriptive. We then dig into the surprising genres of books that James includes in his list, including science fiction, detective novels, and children’s books, and one or two of his very top recommendations in each category. At the end of our conversation, James makes a list just for the AoM audience of books every man should read before he dies.
- Jim’s guiding ethos as he selected these books
- The ire that book lists inspire in others
- Why are book lists helpful? When do they become burdensome?
- What sets Jim’s list apart from other book lists
- Why sci-fi often gets shorted when it comes to book lists
- Why crime fiction is also often seen as low brow
- Jim’s inclusion of “pleasure” reads
- The importance of variety in your reading
- What separates a bad memoir from a good memoir?
- Jim’s favorite type of book
- The benefits of books over social media or other online conversations
- A short list of books Jim thinks every man should read before he dies
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz
- 100 Books Every Man Should Read
- The Leader’s Bookshelf
- AoM’s Libraries of Famous Men series
- Books So Good I’ve Read Them 2X (or More)!
- Sci-Fi Must-Reads:
- Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series
- The Life and Times of Dashiell Hammett
- Make Way for Ducklings
- The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
- How to Read More Books
- Why You Need a Reading Plan
- Within the Context of No Context by George Trow
Jim’s List of Books Every Man Should Read
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban
- Endurance by Alfred Lansing
- Independent Spirit by Hubert Butler
- The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
- The Master of the Senate by Robert Caro
- In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
- Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel
- Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch
- The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg
Connect With Jim
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Recorded on ClearCast.io
Read the Transcript