Let's assume your kids are getting ready for college.
Which 10 books would you make sure they'll read?
My list in alphabetical order:
48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene - When it comes to morality and ethics, people are used to thinking in terms of black and white. Conversely, "The 48 Laws of Power" deals primarily with the gray areas. At the risk of sounding melodramatic and trite, I say that most of the Laws covered in this book can be used for great evil or for great good. And that's exactly what I want my children to discover on their own.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - When superior life forms come to write the history of the extinct human race, they will cite this distinctly unhelpful self-help book masquerading as literature as a turning point in our decline. This will help them to regain their strength from various setbacks in both personal and academic life.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx - Throughout history few theories have been as influential and as all encompassing as that of Marx however, serious horrors and abuses in the name of communism came when power-hungry megalomaniacs got their hands on it. A good way to look at the communist Manifesto is like medication for society.
The Elements of Style by William Struck - I don't think my children need to be a writer to get this book. If they simply want to perfect their own writing for their own sake, have a read and I'm sure they will learn a few new things.
The Giver by Lois Lowry - What are we striving towards? What is the perfect world we envision? What would it cost us? These are the questions which I definitely want to make my children think.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie - His advice is so obvious and so easy, so how come it's so difficult to do yourself and so rarely found in others? Is it cynicism or manipulation? No, it's human nature: "Do Unto Others" and that's what I want them to keep remembering.
Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky - Chomsky is, by vocation, a linguist. While he is also an accomplished social critic, it is also interesting for my children to see the study that made him a social critic.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - A lucrative, eloquent, teeth-pulling exercise in stating the obvious, including the fact that New Yorker journalists who have a successful book with a catchy title under their belt are more likely to have another commissioned. This book surely will spark their minds.
Paper Towns by John Green - The author even says he writes for high school/college age people. It's laugh-out-loud funny, not to mention it's really deep. It really makes you question whether or not you're really seeing the people in your life, and not just making them into 'paper people.'
The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman - Friedman makes specific recommendations about the technical and creative training he believes will be needed to compete in the New Middle class. And that is what I want him to be aware of.
Other types are more than welcome to submit your picks.