The Most Interesting Books I've Read
By Richard Golian4 February 2024
Since my early childhood, I have been an avid reader. Looking back, I consider myself an ideal child: asleep, playing alone, or immersed in books. Reflecting on this, not much has changed over the past 28 years.
Interestingly, I didn't require a vast collection of books; I sought out the ones I found most intriguing. This approach seemed logical—why settle for less when you can enjoy the best available? Although I can't recall the first book that captivated me, by the time I entered elementary school, a book about mammals had become my constant companion. I read it so frequently that the cover fell apart. I memorized facts about various mammals, including their characteristics and habitats.
However, the advent of the Internet marked a decline in my book reading. Technology utterly fascinated me, and at 12, I dedicated a summer to learning web development. This phase of my life, misunderstood by my family as mere gaming, was an enriching learning experience. I may share more about that period in a future post.
End of High School and Return to Books
As I contemplated my university studies, despite my experience as a freelance web developer and creator of several projects, I grew disinterested in coding. I chose to study International Relations, Politics, and Philosophy at Charles University.
The preparation for university admissions led me to disconnect from the Internet and retreat to the science library in my hometown, Banská Bystrica. That year was one of the best in my life, offering me the tranquillity and time to delve into topics of great interest to me, such as the chronologies of critical historical events in Western civilization and the exploration of historical maps. This period felt like a rebirth.
Books That Most Changed My Outlook on Life and the World
My childhood habit of re-reading favourite books has persisted, leading me to revisit many titles multiple times, with plans to re-read especially compelling sections. I've ranked these books by my current preference.
- 8. Apology of Socrates (Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους) by Plato
This text offers Plato's rendition of Socrates' defence before his condemnation to death. I recommend it to everyone for its unparalleled impact on Western thought.
- 7. On the Essence of Truth (Vom Wesen der Wahrheit) by Martin Heidegger
Engaging with this text was a formidable challenge, requiring two years of intensive study at Charles University, after which I felt I had barely scratched the surface—approach with caution due to its complexity.
- 6. The Phenomenology of Spirit (Phänomenologie des Geistes) by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
This work comes with a dual warning: its complexity and the irreversible change in perspective it offers, primarily through its analysis of the Dialectic of Lord and Bondsman.
- 5. Practice in Christianity (Indøvelse i Christendom) by Søren Kierkegaard
More than a discourse on faith, this work presents a reflective critique of the times, including the consequences of Hegel's rationality and the approach of modern science, offering a perspective that resonates beyond religious boundaries.
- 4. Gorgias (Γοργίας) by Plato
I recommend it to everyone. Read it!
- 3. Truth and Method (Wahrheit und Methode) by Hans-Georg Gadamer
A book that deepens the reader's understanding of philosophical and scientific discussions, suitable for readers across the spectrum of expertise.
- 2. Being and Time (Sein und Zeit) by Martin Heidegger
It is a monumental text that I have engaged with extensively, revisiting specific passages nearly a hundred times. I caution potential readers about its complexity. It transcends ordinary understanding, requiring guidance from those experienced in Heidegger's thought.
- 1. Personal writings by Marcus Aurelius
My copy, brimming with annotations and quotes from other Roman thinkers, is a testament to my journey with this book. I recommend it to everyone.