Esteemed historian and 'blogfriend Zenpundit has posted his "Quantum Library" -- books that are so rich in content that each time you re-read them, they elicit new insights. Since he was kind enough to ask, my own Quantum Library is offered here:
- The Prophet : Kahlil Gibran's beautifully written tale of a wise man, beloved in his community, poetically offering life advice to his friends upon his departure from their city.
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy : J.R.R. Tolkein's masterful story of the 3rd Age of Middle Earth, seen by some as a corollary to the Cold War stand-off between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
- The Book of Five Rings (Tarver translation): Miyamoto Musashi's 350-year old book on success in swordplay is equally applicable to modern business.
- On War (Paret/Brodie translation): Karl von Clausewitz's magnum opus that distilled Napoleon's genius into theory.
- The Prince : Niccolo Machiavelli's timeless guide for heads of state.
- The Art of War (Griffith translation): Sun Tzu's classic text on success in war -- where the acme of skill is to achieve victory without fighting -- is as apt today as ever.
- Diplomacy : Elder statesman Henry Kissinger's very accessible, very readable account of the evolution of diplomacy from the Peace of Westphalia to the present day.
- The Sea Power of the State : Soviet Admiral Gorshkov's admirable counterpoint to Alfred Thayer Mahan, this book is even more admirable considering the limited navigable ports of the former Soviet Union.
- Dreadnought : Massie's fascinating history of turn-of-the-20th-century U.K. and Germany, brilliantly describing the seeds of animosity that led to The Great War.
- The Innovator's Dilemma : Prof. Clay Christensen turns traditional B-school lessons on their head by postulating why businesses fail (rather than succeed), with fascinating and counterintuitive results.
- the innovation manifesto : Innovation guru and mentor John Kao (a true Renaissance Man) wrote a modest little pamphlet with "commandments" for innovators -- small in size "for extremely busy people", but big in ideas.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : Pirsig's book on values crosses a wide swath of subject areas, from physics to philosophy to auto shop.
- The Stand : Stephen King's compelling novel of the Apocalypse -- and those who live for the ultimate battle of good and evil.