Peter Thiel's favorite books

  • Psychopolitics

    Psychopolitics

    Jean-Michel Oughourlian
    Conversations with Trevor Cribben Merrill
    Philosophy

    For thousands of years, political leaders have unified communities by aligning them against common enemies. However, today more than ever, the search for “common” enemies results in anything but unanimity. Scapegoats like Saddam Hussein, for example, led to a stark polarization in the United States. Renowned neuropsychiatrist and psychologist Jean-Michel Oughourlian proposes that the only authentic enemy is the one responsible for both everyday frustrations and global dangers, such as climate change—ourselves. Oughourlian, who pioneered an “interdividual” psychology with René Girard, reveals how all people are bound together in a dynamic, contingent process of imitation, and shows that the same patterns of irrational mimetic desire that bring individuals together and push them apart also explain the behavior of nations.

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    For a fresh application of Mr. Girard's insights into power politics, that great international theater of irrationality

    Dec 14, 2012 — Source

  • Lord of the Rings

    The classic one I always give

    Apr 6, 2015 — Source

  • The Diamond Age

    The Diamond Age

    Neal Stephenson
    Humorous stories

    A new look for cult author Stephenson's unstoppable sci-fi classicThe future is small. The future is nano . . .And who could be smaller or more insignificant than poor Little Nell - an orphan girl alone and adrift in a world of Confucian Law, Neo-Victorian values and warring nano-technology?Well, not quite alone. Because Nell has a friend, of sorts. A guide, a teacher, an armed and unarmed combat instructor, a book and a computer: the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is all these and much much more. It is illicit, magical, dangerous.And it isn't Nell's. It was stolen. And now some very powerful people want to get their hands on this highly desirable object. Nell is about to discover that the world can feel very small indeed . . .Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic 'The Baroque Cycle' (Quicksilver, The Confusion and The System of the World) as well as the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age (winner of a Hugo Award), Snow Crash, Zodiac, Anathem and Reamde. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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    I like the genre of past books written about the future

    Sep 12, 2014 — Source

  • The Great Illusion

    I like the genre of past books written about the future

    Sep 12, 2014 — Source

  • Resurrection from the Underground

    There is no better way to think about human irrationality than to read Dostoevsky, and there is no better reader of Dostoevsky than Mr. Girard.

    Dec 14, 2012 — Source

  • The Sovereign Individual

    One of the books that tremendously influenced me when I started PayPal.

    Jul 10, 2020 — Source

  • 100 Plus

    100 Plus

    Sonia Arrison
    How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and
    Medical

    Humanity is on the cusp of an exciting longevity revolution. The first person to live to 150 years has probably already been born. What will your life look like when you live to be over 100? Will you be healthy? Will your marriage need a sunset clause? How long will you have to work? Will you finish one career at sixty-five only to go back to school to learn a new one? And then, will you be happily working for another sixty years? Maybe you’ll be a parent to a newborn and a grandparent at the same time. Will the world become overpopulated? And how will living longer affect your finances, your family life, and your views on religion and the afterlife? In 100 Plus, futurist Sonia Arrison takes us on an eye-opening journey to the future at our doorsteps, where science and technology are beginning to radically change life as we know it. She introduces us to the people transforming our lives: the brilliant scientists and genius inventors and the billionaires who fund their work. The astonishing advances to extend our lives—and good health—are almost here. In the very near future fresh organs for transplants will be grown in laboratories, cloned stem cells will bring previously unstoppable diseases to their knees, and living past 100 will be the rule, not the exception. Sonia Arrison brings over a decade of experience researching and writing about cutting-edge advances in science and technology to 100 Plus, painting a vivid picture of a future that only recently seemed like science fiction, but now is very real. 100 Plus is the first book to give readers a comprehensive understanding of how life-extending discoveries will change our social and economic worlds. This illuminating and indispensable text will help us navigate the thrilling journey of life beyond 100 years.

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    its message is evergreen

    Dec 14, 2012 — Source

  • The Master and Margarita

    The Master and Margarita

    Mikhail Bulgakov
    50th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
    Fiction

    A 50th-anniversary Deluxe Edition of the incomparable 20th-century masterpiece of satire and fantasy, in a newly revised version of the acclaimed Pevear and Volokhonsky translation Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere. This newly revised translation, by the award-winning team of Pevear and Volokhonsky, is made from the complete and unabridged Russian text. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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    If you want something a little more intellectual, it’s probably the Bulgakov novel

    Apr 6, 2015 — Source

  • Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World

    It's a portal to the past, on the human origins, and our history"

    Jul 20, 2019 — Source

  • The American Challenge

    The American Challenge

    Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber

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    I like the genre of past books written about the future

    Sep 12, 2014 — Source

  • Bloodlands

    Bloodlands

    Timothy Snyder
    Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
    History

    From the bestselling author of On Tyranny, the definitive history of Hitler's and Stalin's wars against the civilians of Europe in World War Two Americans call the Second World War "The Good War."But before it even began, America's wartime ally Josef Stalin had killed millions of his own citizens--and kept killing them during and after the war. Before Hitler was finally defeated, he had murdered six million Jews and nearly as many other Europeans. At war's end, both the German and the Soviet killing sites fell behind the iron curtain, leaving the history of mass killing in darkness. Bloodlands is a new kind of European history, presenting the mass murders committed by the Nazi and Stalinist regimes as two aspects of a single history, in the time and place where they occurred: between Germany and Russia, when Hitler and Stalin both held power. Assiduously researched, deeply humane, and utterly definitive, Bloodlands will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the central tragedy of modern history. Bloodlands won twelve awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought. It has been translated into more than thirty languages, was named to twelve book-of-the-year lists, and was a bestseller in six countries.

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    Each victim was an individual whose life cannot be reduced to the violence that cut it short.

    Dec 14, 2012 — Source

  • The New Atlantis

    The New Atlantis

    Sir Francis Bacon
    Fiction

    The New Atlantis is Sir Francis Bacon's creation of an ideal land where its citizens uphold the common qualities of "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit." This short 1627 utopian novel depicts the land of Bensalem, discovered by a European ship after becoming lost somewhere to the west of Peru. One of the crew narrates their look at the island's customs and institutions, especially their impressive culture of science and research.

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    I like the genre of past books written about the future

    Sep 12, 2014 — Source

  • The Decadent Society

    Douthat’s book is well-timed.

    Mar 20, 2021 — Source

  • Atlas Shrugged

    Atlas Shrugged

    Ayn Rand
    Fiction

    Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with towering questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s magnum opus: a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller—nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. Who is John Galt? When he says that he will stop the motor of the world, is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he have to fight his battles not against his enemies but against those who need him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the amazing men and women in this book. You will discover why a productive genius becomes a worthless playboy...why a great steel industrialist is working for his own destruction...why a composer gives up his career on the night of his triumph...why a beautiful woman who runs a transcontinental railroad falls in love with the man she has sworn to kill. Atlas Shrugged, a modern classic and Rand’s most extensive statement of Objectivism—her groundbreaking philosophy—offers the reader the spectacle of human greatness, depicted with all the poetry and power of one of the twentieth century’s leading artists.

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    It felt pretty crazy

    Sep 13, 2018 — Source

  • The Reasonableness of Christianity

    Christ obviously had to mislead people, since if he had not done so, the authorities might have tried to kill him.

    Apr 6, 2015 — Source