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Arnold Kling has a Ph.D. in economics from MIT; founded, one of the very first commercial websites, in 1994; separated from Homefair in January 2000 after it was sold to Homestore; is author of Under the Radar: Starting Your Internet Business without Venture Capital, and is an essayist. Send comments to us at

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February 22, 2004

Top Ten Books

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Posted by Arnold

Academic snobs do not think that anything written after 1800 is worth reading. At least, that is my impression of this list of books that university Presidents think should be read by undergraduates.

In retaliation, here is a list of recent books that I believe should be read by every undergraduate.

1.* The Age of Spiritual Machines, by Ray Kurzweil
2. The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
3. The Transparent Society, by David Brin
4. Special Providence, by Walter Russell Mead
5. The Gathering Storm, by Winston Churchill
6. Reflections on the Great Depression, by Randall Parker
7. The Best and the Brightest, by David Halberstam
8. The Future and its Enemies, by Virginia Postrel
9. Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe
10. John Maynard Keynes: the Economist as Savior, by Robert Skidelsky (this is the second volume; both the first and the second are fascinating biographical literature)

I first saw the university Presidents' list referred to by Tyler Cowen.

*Update: Randall Parker (not the author of the book in my list) mentions The Blank Slate, by Stephen Pinker. How could I have overlooked that? It should be number one on my list, because it is such an excellent antidote to the nonsense that many college professors preach.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Moore's Law


1. Reuben D on February 24, 2004 01:46 PM writes...

Bravo Mr Kling, if you believe that your list is of any consequence to smart students through the world, you are frankly ,an idiot!

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