Here is the a second list of books to peruse. I made the first list some time ago which proved popular. (None of these books are rare. I can get all of them via interlibrary.)

  • The Education of Henry Adams
    Many autobiographies are of the “then I did this, then I did that” variety. There are very few that discuss the motivations of the person at the time the choices were made. This is one of them.

  • How to grow more vegetables
    This book on biointensive gardening will show you how to build a 100 sqft raised bed garden that in 5 years could provide most/all of your vegetables. If you plan to sell the vegetables, the estimated hourly wage is $9-16. Hence, this is definitely a worthwhile pursuit in the pursuit of economic independence. Another interesting thing I learned is that gardening can build top soil much faster than nature. Since we only have an estimated 100 years of topsoil left if current agricultural methods are continued, I expect biointensive gardening to be the way of the future, as it was the way of the past.

  • Toolbox for sustainable city living
    A how to book on how to raise fish, chicken, bugs (the bugs are for the chicken), how to set up an aquaponics system to grow vegetables and fish or clean gray water, how to make biodiesel, etc. Some of these projects are probably more easily carried out outside the city due to zoning laws and regulations. Others, like aquaponics could conceivably be carried out inside.

  • Emergency
    I like books that make me realize how little I know. Such books always energize me. This book is mainly about disaster/emergency preparation and getting out of Dodge (the US). The author learns pistol shooting, wilderness surviving, gets EMT certification amongst other things.

  • Letters to a young contrarian
    Pursuing extreme early retirement or doing other things which are not in accordance with mainstream beliefs will, unless you associate with a have very understanding group of people, create lots of resistance of people saying that you are crazy, irresponsible, and so on. If you want to deal with them head on: Read this book.

  • Cradle to cradle
    This book will have you thinking optimistically about design.

  • Please understand me
    I think this is the ultimate book when it comes to realizing that individuals are generally very different in terms of thoughts, interests, and intentions. It also provides a workable model for understanding other people.

  • How I became stupid
    Any intelligent (and dare I say) pretentious intellectual will recognize something of himself in this book. (fiction)

  • Microcosmographia Academica
    Despite chiefly dealing with academic politics, which is like all other politics except the stakes are smaller, this book illuminates the fundamentals of politics. If it was not clear already it will help one realize that democrat and republican politicians have far more in common with each other than with the voter. If you have already realized this, it is still a fun short read (less than 30 pages).

  • The Collapse of Complex Societies
    This book deals with instabilities on a societal scale using a systems approach which is interesting and dare I say relevant in itself given that we live in a highly complex and differentiated society (Don’t believe me? Try switching the electricity off and leaving your car in the garage for a week and see how you fare). However, its ideas can be translated to the individual to some extent: Exactly when do you start seeing a negative return on investing as you build up your life?