36 Recommended Reading


These are things other people wrote. They are all pieces of glory. Each image is followed by a quotation. If you click the image, you can go buy the book.

thing explainer

Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe is my favorite new easy read. Randall is the force behind XKCD, which is daily manna for my brain.  In this book, he explains a wide range of scientific topics, with one simple catch: he only allowed himself to use the 1,000 most common words in the English language.

So a page about the cell is titled “Tiny Bags of Water You’re Made Of,” and a page about a mechanical pencil is called “Writing Sticks.” How does an airplane engine work?

“Sky boats, like cars and sea boats, are pushed by machines that burn fire water. Fire water needs air to burn, and sky boat pushers use special blowers that use the air they’re moving through to feed their fire.”

For real. This book is a fascinating achievement. You will love it as much as your kids.

Child of God, by Cormac McCarthy:

“He could not swim, but how would you drown him? His wrath seemed to buoy him up. Some halt in the way of things seems to work here. See him. You could say that he is sustained by his fellow men, like you. Has peopled the shore with them calling to him. A race that gives suck to the maimed and the crazed, that wants their blood in history and will have it. But they want this man’s life. He has heard them in the night seeking him with lanterns and cries of execration. How then is he borne up? Or rather, why will not these waters take him?”

(August 8, 2016)


“The public is indoctrinated to beleive that skills arevaluable and reliable only if they are the result of formal schooling…The right of free assembly has been politically recognized and culturally accepted. We should now understand that this right is curtailed by laws that make some forms of assembly [such as compulsory education] obligatory.”


“The goal of a knowledge arising from love is the reunification and reconstruction of broken selves and worlds.”


I cannot say enough about this book.  It is so spectacularly countercultural (and, I would argue, exactly right).  The notion is simple:  turning kids into adults involves, well, progressively letting them have more and more freedom.  Skenazy argues for a much, much earlier severing of the metaphorical umbilical cord than almost anyone I know (except me).