100 books like The Man Without Qualities

By Robert Musil, Sophie Wilkins (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Man Without Qualities fans have personally recommended if you like The Man Without Qualities. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Naming and Necessity

Yehonathan Sharvit Author Of Data-Oriented Programming

From my list on become a great developer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I boast a two-decade-long career in the software industry. Over the years, I have diligently honed my programming skills across a multitude of languages, including JavaScript, C++, Java, Ruby, and Clojure. Throughout my career, I have taken on various management roles, from Team Leader to VP of Engineering. No matter the role, the thing I have enjoyed the most is to make complex topics easy to understand.

Yehonathan's book list on become a great developer

Yehonathan Sharvit Why did Yehonathan love this book?

Naming and Necessity had a profound impact on my understanding of the importance of using proper names in programming (for functions, variables, etc.). I was fascinated by Kripke’s exploration of the usage of names in our day-to-day language. His arguments challenged my thinking and introduced me to new ways of considering reference and meaning.

The clarity and rigor of his analysis pushed me to refine my reasoning skills. Despite being a challenging read, I found it incredibly rewarding.

By Saul A Kripke,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Naming and Necessity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Naming and Necessity' has had a great and increasing influence. It redirected philosophical attention to neglected questions of natural and metaphysical necessity and to the connections between these and theories of naming, and of identity. This seminal work, to which today's thriving essentialist metaphysics largely owes its impetus, is here reissued in a newly corrected form with a new preface by the author. If there is such a thing as essential reading in metaphysics, or in philosophy of language, this is it.


Book cover of Philosophical Investigations

Gary Kemp Author Of What is this thing called Philosophy of Language?

From my list on those interested in language itself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of language (and of art) and have been for 30+ years. Why philosophy of language? Well, it encourages a certain salutary kind of self-consciousness—which is extremely valuable to philosophy—and facilitates greater rigor. But it only got going some one hundred and twenty years ago. So it's modern(ish) as well as deep.  And whereas it might seem a narrow slice of the philosophical pie, it isn't; it seems to provide fruitful ways of thinking for almost any philosophical subject. For example, rather than 'What is X?', we ask 'What do we mean by "X"?'; a subtle difference perhaps but the change in perspective might be a key.

Gary's book list on those interested in language itself

Gary Kemp Why did Gary love this book?

I first read this book at age twenty-one and have never stopped returning to it. It gets better and deeper each time.

Ludwig teaches that language and reality are bound up in so many ways. It also contains some famous themes and head-scratchers, such as language games, family resemblance, private language, and rule-following, discussed, as always, in a non-technical way. 

By Ludwig Wittgenstein,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Philosophical Investigations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Incorporating significant editorial changes from earlier editions, the fourth edition of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations is the definitive en face German-English version of the most important work of 20th-century philosophy The extensively revised English translation incorporates many hundreds of changes to Anscombe's original translation Footnoted remarks in the earlier editions have now been relocated in the text What was previously referred to as 'Part 2' is now republished as Philosophy of Psychology - A Fragment , and all the remarks in it are numbered for ease of reference New detailed editorial endnotes explain decisions of translators and identify references and…


Book cover of Word and Object

Gary Kemp Author Of What is this thing called Philosophy of Language?

From my list on those interested in language itself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of language (and of art) and have been for 30+ years. Why philosophy of language? Well, it encourages a certain salutary kind of self-consciousness—which is extremely valuable to philosophy—and facilitates greater rigor. But it only got going some one hundred and twenty years ago. So it's modern(ish) as well as deep.  And whereas it might seem a narrow slice of the philosophical pie, it isn't; it seems to provide fruitful ways of thinking for almost any philosophical subject. For example, rather than 'What is X?', we ask 'What do we mean by "X"?'; a subtle difference perhaps but the change in perspective might be a key.

Gary's book list on those interested in language itself

Gary Kemp Why did Gary love this book?

I found this book's scientific rigor, systematicity, depth, and wisdom unmatchable. I liked "the passion for desert landscapes" together with the wit.

It’s not easy, at first, to see the philosophical significance of the discussion until you do, and you’re attracted to the idea that philosophy is too often a mere verbal tangle. Quine agrees, and he tries to explain why. 

By Willard Van Orman Quine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Word and Object as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new edition of Quine's most important work.

Willard Van Orman Quine begins this influential work by declaring, "Language is a social art. In acquiring it we have to depend entirely on intersubjectively available cues as to what to say and when." As Patricia Smith Churchland notes in her foreword to this new edition, with Word and Object Quine challenged the tradition of conceptual analysis as a way of advancing knowledge. The book signaled twentieth-century philosophy's turn away from metaphysics and what Churchland calls the "phony precision" of conceptual analysis.

In the course of his discussion of meaning and the…


Book cover of Painting as an Art

Gary Kemp Author Of What is this thing called Philosophy of Language?

From my list on those interested in language itself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philosopher of language (and of art) and have been for 30+ years. Why philosophy of language? Well, it encourages a certain salutary kind of self-consciousness—which is extremely valuable to philosophy—and facilitates greater rigor. But it only got going some one hundred and twenty years ago. So it's modern(ish) as well as deep.  And whereas it might seem a narrow slice of the philosophical pie, it isn't; it seems to provide fruitful ways of thinking for almost any philosophical subject. For example, rather than 'What is X?', we ask 'What do we mean by "X"?'; a subtle difference perhaps but the change in perspective might be a key.

Gary's book list on those interested in language itself

Gary Kemp Why did Gary love this book?

I have loved painting since I was a boy.

Wollheim teaches that this is largely, if tacitly, a philosophical interest, in particular, an interest in philosophy in mind, depth psychology, and meaning. That is why pictures fascinate us in the way they do. It is the very opposite of deconstructionism; the facts of history, artistic intention, psychoanalysis, and perception make something urgently real out of painting.  

By Richard Wollheim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Painting as an Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the twentieth century's most influential texts on philosophical aesthetics

Painting as an Art is acclaimed philosopher Richard Wollheim's encompassing vision of how to view art. Transcending the traditional boundaries of art history, Wollheim draws on his three great passions-philosophy, psychology, and art-to present an illuminating theory of the very experience of art. He shows how to unlock the meaning of a painting by retrieving-almost reenacting-the creative activity that produced it. In order to fully appreciate a work of art, Wollheim argues, critics must bring a much richer conception of human psychology than they have in the past. This…


Book cover of Still

Laney Kaye Author Of Malicious Desire

From my list on traveling australian outback from home.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professional counselor by trade, I’m fascinated by the machinations of the human mind, what drives us, and how our primeval urges can overcome our learned and acceptable behaviors. Accordingly, I enjoy both reading and writing books that expose and explore the dark side of our psyche and the dichotomy of human nature. I particularly appreciate stories that balance evil with redemption, rescue, or retribution. 

Laney's book list on traveling australian outback from home

Laney Kaye Why did Laney love this book?

I love a tense, character-driven thriller, and this one was set in a remote town I’ve visited. 

I love that the book is set in 1963, a decade that had particular significance for Australian women, their roles, and the expectations placed upon them.

It’s not fast-moving, but the setting is an almost palpable character in its own right. I found it dark, rife with corruption, violence, oppressive heat, and both the best and the worst of what Australia has to offer.

By Matt Nable,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Still as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE #1 Australian best-selling fiction

'From screen to page, Matt Nable's ability to breathe life into vivid characters shines against the grittiness of the harsh Australian landscape.' - Jane Harper, author of The Dry

'a thrilling, heart-stopping novel that fans of The Dry are going to love' - Weekender

'Nable renders the past both tangible and real and it's riveting' - Sue Turnbull, The Age

'must read' - Who Weekly

Darwin, Summer, 1963.

The humidity sat heavy and thick over the town as Senior Constable Ned Potter looked down at a body that had been dragged from the shallow marshland.…


Book cover of The Old Drift

Iris Mwanza Author Of The Lions' Den

From my list on immersed in another culture, country and time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Zambia, a small, landlocked country where travel was prohibitively expensive, but through books, I could travel to any place and across time without ever leaving my bedroom. Now, I’m fortunate that I get to travel for work and leisure and have been to over thirty countries and counting. Before I go to a new country, I try to read historical fiction as a fun way to educate myself and better understand that country’s history, culture, food, and family life. I hope you also enjoy traveling worldwide and across time through this selection.

Iris' book list on immersed in another culture, country and time

Iris Mwanza Why did Iris love this book?

This type of book taught me much about my own country, Zambia. It starts with the story of David Livingstone’s “discovery” of Victoria Falls, and many characters, including a choir of mosquitos, took me for a wild ride through colonial history, the struggle for independence, modern-day Zambia, and then into the future.

I had learned about some of the historical events in school, but many were revelations unearthed by Serpell’s meticulous research. I found the characters riveting, and the storytelling complex, creative, and exciting. Reading this incredible book has also made me richer in my knowledge of my home country. 

By Namwali Serpell,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Old Drift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A dazzling debut, establishing Namwali Serpell as a writer on the world stage.”—Salman Rushdie, The New York Times Book Review
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times • The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • The Atlantic • BuzzFeed • Tordotcom • Kirkus Reviews • BookPage

WINNER OF: The Arthur C. Clarke Award • The Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award • The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction • The Windham-Campbell Prizes for Fiction

1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the…


Book cover of London, With Love

Cressida McLaughlin Author Of The Happy Hour

From my list on romance books where time is important.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a voracious reader of romantic fiction, and I’m always drawn in by books where time plays an important role. I love it when the characters have limited time and are on a countdown, or time is stretched out between their interactions, or when one single moment changes the course of their lives so completely. It always adds so much conflict and drama to a plot, as if time is a character in itself: it’s such a big thing in all our lives, but it’s also, in some respects, completely arbitrary. I love all these books because time and timing have such a big impact on the characters. 

Cressida's book list on romance books where time is important

Cressida McLaughlin Why did Cressida love this book?

I felt every single emotion reading this book and felt as if I’d lived all the decades with Jen and Nick, who met as teenagers and soon became friends.

I love Sarra’s writing style, and I was fully invested in Jen and Nick from the very beginning, and found their complicated, messy relationship, which follows the most winding path, completely believable.

There was so much in this book that was unexpected, and by the end, I was a sobbing puddle of feelings. I know Jen and Nick will always stay with me, and I’m already looking forward to reading it again. 

By Sarra Manning,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London, With Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A VERY special book. GORGEOUS, real believable and BEAUTIFUL' - Marian Keyes

London. Nine million people. Two hundred and seventy tube stations. Every day, thousands of chance encounters, first dates, goodbyes and happy ever afters.

And for twenty years it's been where one man and one woman can never get their timing right.

Jennifer and Nick meet as teenagers and over the next two decades, they fall in and out of love with each other. Sometimes they start kissing. Sometimes they're just friends. Sometimes they stop speaking, but they always find their way back to each other.

But after all…


Book cover of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution: Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D.

Craig McDonald Author Of One True Sentence

From my list on suspenseful thrillers where fact & fiction meet.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a career journalist/communications specialist and historical suspense novelist, the intersection of fact and fiction has always been a fascination and an inspiration. In journalism and nonfiction reportage, the best we can hope to ascertain are likely facts. But in fiction—particularly fiction melded with history—I believe we can come closest to depicting something at least in the neighborhood of truth. My own novels have consistently employed real people and events, and as a reader, I’m particularly drawn to books that feature a factual/fictional mix, something which all five of my recommended novels excel in delivering with bracing bravado.

Craig's book list on suspenseful thrillers where fact & fiction meet

Craig McDonald Why did Craig love this book?

I was immediately taken with author/filmmaker Nicholas Meyer's brilliant pairing of a flailing, cocaine-addicted Sherlock Holmes with a winningly rendered Sigmund Freud, whom a desperate Doctor Watson has recruited to save the self-destructive detective.

Freud’s efforts eventually teased out the darkest of secrets driving Holmes’ notorious substance abuse in a manner I found enthralling. I believe the best historical novels confidently ground you in a time and a place that captivates but also conjures a reality all their own in their blending of fact and fiction, which this novel does in spades.

I’ve revisited it many times over the years. A wonderful film adaptation by Meyer was also released many years ago, starring Nichol Williamson as Holmes and Alan Arkin as Freud.

By Nicholas Meyer (editor),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Seven-Per-Cent Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First discovered and then painstakingly edited and annotated by Nicholas Meyer, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution related the astounding and previously unknown collaboration of Sigmund Freud with Sherlock Holmes, as recorded by Holmes's friend and chronicler, Dr. John H. Watson. In addition to its breathtaking account of their collaboration on a case of diabolic conspiracy in which the lives of millions hang in the balance, it reveals such matters as the real identity of the heinous professor Moriarty, the dark secret shared by Sherlock and his brother Mycroft Holmes, and the detective's true whereabouts during the Great Hiatus, when the world believed…


Book cover of Horses of Heaven

Lauren Willig Author Of Two Wars and a Wedding

From my list on historical fiction in unusual time periods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the era of sweeping historical epics, traveling with the turn of a page from Gaius Marius’s Rome to Victoria’s England and everything in between. I’ve always loved books that immerse you in places and time periods you know nothing about—and when I couldn’t find enough of them, I started writing my own. While my long-ago history PhD work is in Tudor-Stuart England (my specialty was the English Civil War), what I love most is being a historical dilettante and getting to hop around the historical record—which may be why my books can take you anywhere from Napoleon’s court to 1920s Kenya to Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt!

Lauren's book list on historical fiction in unusual time periods

Lauren Willig Why did Lauren love this book?

I don’t know about you, but when I learned history in elementary school, we skipped straight from Ancient Greece and Rome to the Norman Conquest with the briefest of nods at Byzantium to acknowledge there was something in between. It was all very simple and straightforward—and completely left out the crumbling kingdoms left behind in the wake of the fall of Alexander the Great’s Empire.

I can still remember opening Gillian Bradshaw’s Horses of Heaven for the first time and thinking, “What’s Ferghana? Or Bactra?”  Gillian Bradshaw wrote a number of books set in the wake of Alexander’s empire, but this one is the one that really stuck with me, told through the eyes of a girl picked to go as attendant to a Greek aristocrat from Bactra being married to King Mauakes of Ferghana (now Afghanistan).

By Gillian Bradshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Horses of Heaven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Heliokleia, a young princess of Bactria, is allied in a mismatched marriage to the ruler of Ferghana, but she realizes too late that the king's son, Itaz, is her true soulmate


Book cover of Assume Nothing

Eric Beetner Author Of The Last Few Miles of Road: A Carter McCoy Novel

From my list on down the dark road of revenge.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many readers, I am drawn to stories of vengeance. Stories of someone seeking revenge have a built-in tension and narrative drive. But as the saying goes, when you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves. Yes, these tales seldom go smoothly. The consequences of this and the violence that ensues are what I wanted to explore in my latest novel, but several books on my shelf make fascinating stories out of this desire for revenge.

Eric's book list on down the dark road of revenge

Eric Beetner Why did Eric love this book?

This book surprised me with its sharpened steel edge and uncompromising main character. Joe Reddick has lost it all and is, as a result, a very dangerous man you do not want to cross. When his family is threatened, Joe embarks on a mission to bring down the men who dared cross him and show them what mistakes they had made.

That you root for Joe even as he goes about doing terrible things to more terrible people is a testament to the stellar writing of Haywood in this, one of his most compelling standalone thrillers.

By Gar Anthony Haywood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Assume Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The new novel from the critically acclaimed and award-winning author - When Joe Reddick and his family are threatened in their LA home by a masked, knife-wielding intruder, it means serious trouble for a gang of desperate criminals. The threat sends Joe Reddick over the edge. He's lived the nightmare of losing a family to a crazed killer once, and he's not going to let it happen again. After sending his wife and son to safety, he goes to war, determined to kill those responsible. Soon Reddick’s living nightmare will finally be over. One way or the other . .…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Austria-Hungary, Vienna, and London?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Austria-Hungary, Vienna, and London.

Austria-Hungary 17 books
Vienna 55 books
London 818 books