10 Must Read Books: Time Traveller's Essential Library

What books would you take with you if you knew there was no turning back? It's like choosing your desert island stuff but with a twist - remember that you'll need to (re) start the civilization with them as a foundation. Religious texts aside - where would you look for inspiration before setting off on a journey to rebuild civilization?

1. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Considered by most to be the authoritative text on leadership and power and a great guide how (not) to run your kingdom. It poses an interesting question: it is better to be feared than loved by your people?

I reply that one should like to be both one and the other; but since it is difficult to join them together, it is much safer to be feared than to be loved when one of the two must be lacking.

Essentially, Machiavelli advocates letting your people have their property and women, but making sure that they know what you are capable of doing if they step out of line.

photo by MikeSheridan89

2. 1984 by George Orwell

A field guide on how not to run a society. If you are worried about the stuff that your computer is collecting from you, read Orwell and you will feel relieved!

1984 is all about the way the individual struggles to maintains his privacy and free will in a completely controlled society and how easy it is at the end to just blend in and follow the crowd. It all comes down to that final quote: “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”

photo by elycefeliz

3. The Republic by Plato

A bit of philosophy is a must in every time traveller's literary diet. Plato’s Republic strives to explain  topics of which you should have a fundamental understanding when starting a new society, such as government, justice and politics.

photo by Alex Ristea

4. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Would your future civilization rely on a free market? The Wealth of Nations is THE essential handbook of economics and a great starting point for any future economist. Adam Smith describes the forces that drive the humanity towards investment, development and profit.

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” 

photo by LibraryatNight

5. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

One of the most controversial books of its time. It tells a tale of California during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. It was received as communist propaganda because of the social and economic solutions that it presented.

Politics aside, the book is a classic story of a man doing what he had to do for his family in order to persevere through really difficult times.

photo by Paradox 56

6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Huxley plays with the idea of a truly futuristic utopia. His vision of the world of tomorrow includes generations of genetically enhanced embryos engineered to fit a specific role in the society. The book tackles the issue technological interference with human life.
With a revolutionary and controversial view of the future,

photo by danielweiresq

7. Call of the Wild by Jack London

Nature is the best teacher. Jack London confronts our innate human rush for gold with the stoicism of the natural world. The Call of the Wild is a story of Buck, a domesticated dog forced to adapt to a life of hard work during the Yukon gold rush in Alaska.

“…men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal…These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.”

photo by Joanna Bourne

8. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

The ultimate guide to become a self-made man. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt shows what made Roosevelt the great man he was (and a president at 42!). Reading this book will inspire you to move forward with your life (and your fresh civilization, of course).

photo by cliff1066â„¢

9. Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

A guide for those who prefer a simpler life, always on the road without any concern for wealth. A real perspective changer, Dharma Bums tells you how to enjoy your surroundings and various circumstances, whatever they may be.

This is also a great book for reminding us to get away from technology from time to time to appreciate the simple pleasures.

phpto by cdrummbks

10. The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer

Both books, based around the events of the Trojan War, are among the ultimate literary classics of all time. At the end of the day, the main plots boil down to: war is bad, bravery is good, always return home.

photo by // Denise //

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