100 books like The Second Mountain

By David Brooks,

Here are 100 books that The Second Mountain fans have personally recommended if you like The Second Mountain. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Soul of a New Machine

Alex Tapscott Author Of Web3: Charting the Internet's Next Economic and Cultural Frontier

From my list on technological innovation and what drives it.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was while on the job as an investment banker that I first heard about this new thing called Bitcoin, before the word "web3" entered the vernacular. Initially I was skeptical but curious. But I became convinced the underlying technology of blockchains was ushering in nothing short of a new internet. My father Don Tapscott and I agreed to collaborate on a major research initiative that became the international best-seller, Blockchain Revolution. Since then, I have traveled to 40 countries and seen first-hand how blockchain and now Web3 is changing the world, setting the stage for a new digital age. My new book charts a course for this coming transformation.

Alex's book list on technological innovation and what drives it

Alex Tapscott Why did Alex love this book?

Kidder’s book follows the lives of a group of brilliant, funny, and maniacally driven entrepreneurs as they race to get their new minicomputer, the “Data General Eclipse MV/8000,” to market.

The technology is totally obsolete – who under the age of 40 has heard of a minicomputer? – but the story is somehow timeless. The book won the Pulitzer and is still a fun and riveting tale of what it takes to get a product to market on an ever-changing technological frontier.

By Tracy Kidder,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Soul of a New Machine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tracy Kidder's "riveting" story of one company's efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and has become essential reading for understanding the history of the American tech industry.

Computers have changed since 1981 when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations.

The Soul…


Book cover of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Maryanne O'Brien Author Of The Elevated Communicator: How to Master Your Style and Strengthen Well-Being at Work

From my list on communication and building trusted relationships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a work in progress, on my way to becoming a conscious communicator and an even better human being. I believe that intentional communication and (the) quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives, careers, and societies. I’ve spent decades guiding people and cultures to foster open communication, cultivate self-understanding, and deepen trust, from large Fortune 500 to small businesses. Building communication skills is a practice that leads to self-transformation and finding meaning, and happiness. Each of these books will help you to better understand yourself and others, and learn to communicate at the level of trust.

Maryanne's book list on communication and building trusted relationships

Maryanne O'Brien Why did Maryanne love this book?

If you’ve been avoiding having a difficult conversation, this book is for you.

It provides a step-by-step guide for preparing to have difficult conversations and navigating the waters once you’re in them, both personally and professionally. You’ll learn to see your own defensive barriers to communicating well (defensiveness to silence) and how to apply strategies for overcoming these obstacles and creating a safe and productive environment.

It’s a valuable resource you’ll come back to again and again, because people are complex, and communication is the bridge to building trust. 

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan , Al Switzler

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Crucial Conversations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that changed the way millions communicate

"[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time."
-from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here's how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations."
-Mark Victor Hansen, cocreator of the #1…


Book cover of Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them

Matt Zandstra Author Of PHP 8 Objects, Patterns, and Practice: Mastering OO Enhancements, Design Patterns, and Essential Development Tools

From my list on non-fiction that turn their topics upside down.

Why am I passionate about this?

Software developers love to question the assumptions that underpin their practice. Some of the most exciting phases of my career have come about as a result of such questions. Often they are revolutionary in the literal sense that they ask you to turn your thinking upside down – to design systems from the bottom up rather than the top down, for example, or to write your tests before your components. I may not adopt every practice, but each challenge enriches the conceptual world in which I work. Over the years, I have come to look for similar shifts and inversions across other subject areas. Here are some recommendations from my reading.

Matt's book list on non-fiction that turn their topics upside down

Matt Zandstra Why did Matt love this book?

I must have read a hundred books about story structure over the years. Somehow, perhaps because of some story-related blind spot on my part, none of them ever seemed to stick.

My problem was always the middle. Middles can sag. It seems that a story's interior becomes little more than the wasteland a protagonist must traverse to get from the mystery of a beginning to the ultimate challenge of an ending.

Yorke's Into The Woods celebrates the middle. He reminds us that the essential crux of a story lies in its midpoint. Right at the heart of an effective story, he argues, lies a fundamental transformation, a change so great that the protagonist emerges with new powers into a new world.

Furthermore, by analysing stories in five acts rather than three, he allows for an elegant symmetry in which the first and fifth, second, and fourth acts mirror one another.…

By John Yorke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Into The Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The best book on the subject I've read. Quite brilliant' Tony Jordan, creator/writer, Life on Mars, Hustle

We all love stories. But why do we tell them? And why do all stories function in an eerily similar way? John Yorke, creator of the BBC Writers' Academy, has brought a vast array of drama to British screens. Here he takes us on a journey to the heart of storytelling, revealing that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative forms - one that echoes the fairytale journey into the woods and, like any great art, comes from deep within. From ancient…


Book cover of The Big Sleep

Charles Ardai Author Of Death Comes Too Late

From my list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears.

Why am I passionate about this?

I created Hard Case Crime 20 years ago to revive the look, feel, and storytelling style of the great paperback crime novels of the 1940s and 50s: slender, high-velocity tales with irresistible premises, crackling dialogue, and powerful emotions, all presented behind gorgeous painted covers in the classic pulp style. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to publish Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury, James M. Cain, Erle Stanley Gardner, Mickey Spillane, Brian De Palma, Ed McBain, and many more extraordinary authors.

Charles' book list on hardboiled crime novels that will move you to tears

Charles Ardai Why did Charles love this book?

The first novel about legendary private eye Phillip Marlowe is also the first mystery novel that ever made me cry when I turned the last page.

Marlowe’s poetic narration and bruised outsider’s voice offer a cynical but also strangely hopeful perspective on both the shady underworld types and the corrupt high-society folk who fill the “mean streets” down which Marlowe must walk (in Chandler’s much-quoted phrase).

Why hopeful when death–the big sleep–awaits us all? Because a man of principles like Marlowe can still bring a measure of justice in this unjust world, sometimes just by bearing witness.

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Big Sleep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Raymond Chandler's first three novels, published here in one volume, established his reputation as an unsurpassed master of hard-boiled detective fiction.

The Big Sleep, Chandler's first novel, introduces Philip Marlowe, a private detective inhabiting the seamy side of Los Angeles in the 1930s, as he takes on a case involving a paralysed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters, blackmail and murder.

In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe deals with the gambling circuit, a murder he stumbles upon, and three very beautiful but potentially deadly women.

In The High Window, Marlowe searches the California underworld for a priceless gold coin and finds himself…


Book cover of A Guide to Liberating Your Soul

Grant Tate Author Of Hand on the Shoulder: Finding Freedom in the Confluence of Love and Career

From my list on disillusionment and transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

For years, I’ve asked myself why I crashed. What was the complex web of principles and circumstances that landed a successful, upstanding, highly qualified person into a psychiatrist’s office? And, further, what inner strengths led me to ultimate transformation and a better understanding of myself and my environment? This book has been a project of self-exploration, of the stories and decisions that helped me climb, fall, and recover—exploring the confluence of love and career.

Grant's book list on disillusionment and transformation

Grant Tate Why did Grant love this book?

Richard Barrett’s book is like the engineer's guide to self-enlightenment. Like David Brooks in the second mountain, the author describes a personal journey to discover one’s inner purpose and soul.

The book's first section explores ways to develop self-knowledge, even providing a variety of charts to explain the author's philosophical concepts: exploring consciousness, self-identity, and beliefs. Part two defines ways to discover one’s purpose and then articulates pathways and strategies to live that purpose.

Had I read and studied this book in my early life, my path might have been much different. That is, of course, if I had the mind to follow Barrett’s suggestions.

By Richard Barrett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Guide to Liberating Your Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everything you need to know about personal transformation. Drawing on leading-edge theories of science, religion and psychology, Richard Barrett provides a detailed account of the interactions of the personality with the soul. He weaves together a comprehensive model of consciousness with the soul at the center. He teaches you ten strategies for attaining soul consciousness and how to see and live life from the perspective of the soul.


Book cover of A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM

Grant Tate Author Of Hand on the Shoulder: Finding Freedom in the Confluence of Love and Career

From my list on disillusionment and transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

For years, I’ve asked myself why I crashed. What was the complex web of principles and circumstances that landed a successful, upstanding, highly qualified person into a psychiatrist’s office? And, further, what inner strengths led me to ultimate transformation and a better understanding of myself and my environment? This book has been a project of self-exploration, of the stories and decisions that helped me climb, fall, and recover—exploring the confluence of love and career.

Grant's book list on disillusionment and transformation

Grant Tate Why did Grant love this book?

This book, the transcript of Thomas J Watson Jr.'s 1963 lecture at Columbia University, describes the core values on which the IBM corporation was built: respect for the individual, best customer service of any company in the world, excellence in everything we do. The small book is rich with guidelines for good management and examples of real-life incidents where the principles were applied.

Watson's book is fundamentally important today because it provides a foundation for understanding how IBM, the company for which I invested much of my career, lost its way when it deviated from Watson‘s core values.

By Thomas J. Watson Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Business and Its Beliefs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the timeless business book that still brings perspective and guidance to today's bottom-line executives. When first published in 1963, IBM CEO Thomas Watson Jr.'s "A Business and Its Beliefs" gave readers an unprecedented look inside IBM's executive offices. Watson-son of IBM's founder - candidly discussed how the company clung to its values during the first great technological shift, and how this refusal to compromise became IBM's strength. He also became one of the first CEOs to question business's place and responsibility in society, and openly discuss how firms could meet expanding social expectations while still turning a profit.…


Book cover of Wolves Eat Dogs

Les Cowan Author Of Benefit of the Doubt: He Fled, Danger Followed

From my list on crime/thriller for characters and character.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first thought about crime writing I was probably too lazy to do the research on police procedures so decided instead to feature an “ordinary” character with no official role but who still intervenes when evil seems to be triumphing and nobody is paying attention. Key elements of this are reflected in my list—the importance of stories and storytelling, some great thrillers, and thoughtful consideration of why someone would put themselves in jeopardy for others. Having worked with many criminals and victims I have seen that ordinary people can make a difference. In a way my books ask the question, “What would you do in David Hidalgo’s shoes?”

Les' book list on crime/thriller for characters and character

Les Cowan Why did Les love this book?

Martin Cruz Smith’s first book in his Arkady Renko series, Gorky Park, did very well and was made into a successful film. Later books are perhaps not so well known which I think is a great pity. Smith’s books ooze atmosphere, intrigue, and authenticity taking us into other worlds—in this case, that of Russian oligarchs and the deadly exclusion zone round Chernobyl. Arkady Renko is an incorruptible investigator in a society where everyone is on the makeanother parallel I’ve found very applicable to my own work. And, unlike many thriller authors, Smith is also a brilliant writer of scintillating, gripping narrative. I’d love David Hidalgo and Arkady Renko to meet and have a chat over a few glasses of red wine, vodka, or both!

By Martin Cruz Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Don't miss the latest book in the Arkady Renko series, THE SIBERIAN DILEMMA by Martin Cruz Smith, 'the master of the international thriller' (New York Times) - available to order now!

AN ARKADY RENKO NOVEL: #5

'One of those writers that anyone who is serious about their craft views with respect bordering on awe' Val McDermid

'Makes tension rise through the page like a shark's fin' Independent

***
The iron curtain has fallen and a screen of nouveau capitalism stands in its place. Though the New Russia is foreign to Renko, the corruption and brutality that he encounters are all…


Book cover of The Second Sleep

Les Cowan Author Of Benefit of the Doubt: He Fled, Danger Followed

From my list on crime/thriller for characters and character.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first thought about crime writing I was probably too lazy to do the research on police procedures so decided instead to feature an “ordinary” character with no official role but who still intervenes when evil seems to be triumphing and nobody is paying attention. Key elements of this are reflected in my list—the importance of stories and storytelling, some great thrillers, and thoughtful consideration of why someone would put themselves in jeopardy for others. Having worked with many criminals and victims I have seen that ordinary people can make a difference. In a way my books ask the question, “What would you do in David Hidalgo’s shoes?”

Les' book list on crime/thriller for characters and character

Les Cowan Why did Les love this book?

I could easily recommend any of Robert Harris’s “intelligent thrillers” however I’ve picked this one because I like the idea of an “ordinary” man who finds himself in the midst of a dangerous mystery. Briefly, The Second Sleep is set in the future after our civilisation has destroyed itself and where life is now functioning at the medieval level. The church, which controls everything, has banned investigation into the past. A humble priest is sent to visit a village in his parish and begins to suspect that things are not as they seem. Eventually, against the orders of the church, he decides to try to penetrate the past with alarming consequences. So, as for my character, David Hidalgo, we find that ordinary people can make a difference!

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE LATEST NOVEL FROM ROBERT HARRIS: chosen as a Book of the Year by The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, and Express

WHAT IF YOUR FUTURE LIES IN THE PAST?
_____________________________________
'One word: wonderful. Two words: compulsive reading. Three words: buy it tomorrow. Four words: tonight, if it's possible.' STEPHEN KING
'A thoroughly absorbing, page-turning narrative.' SUNDAY TIMES
'Genuinely thrilling.' DAILY TELEGRAPH
_____________________________________
Dusk is gathering as a young priest, Christopher Fairfax, rides across a silent land.

It's a crime to be out after dark, and Fairfax knows he must arrive at his destination - a remote…


Book cover of Mountains of the Mind

Peter Cossins Author Of Climbers: How the Kings of the Mountains Conquered Cycling

From my list on man’s exploration of the mountains.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about cycling for 30 years and over that time I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the exploits of bike racers in the mountains and, above all, by this magnificent terrain itself. This ultimately led to my family leaving our home in the north of England and moving to the French Pyrenees, to a tiny hamlet that’s close to nowhere but is surrounded by mountains, where we can walk and ride endlessly through stunning countryside. I may not be French, but this is where I feel most at home.

Peter's book list on man’s exploration of the mountains

Peter Cossins Why did Peter love this book?

I’ve been drawn to the mountains since I was a child and reading this book helped hugely in explaining my fascination with this terrain.

It details how man was initially fearful of the mountains and how that situation changed from the 17th century on, and looks at early attempts to explore and understand these highlands, with a particular focus on mountaineering. It’s beautifully written and very engaging.

By Robert Macfarlane,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mountains of the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD

Once we thought monsters lived there. In the Enlightenment we scaled them to commune with the sublime. Soon, we were racing to conquer their summits in the name of national pride.

In this ground-breaking, classic work, Robert Macfarlane takes us up into the mountains: to experience their shattering beauty, the fear and risk of adventure, and to explore the strange impulses that have for centuries lead us to the world's highest places.


Book cover of The Living Mountain

Sara B. Franklin Author Of The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America

From my list on the stories we tell about women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Judith Jones became an important mentor and mother figure to me in my twenties, in the wake of my parents’ deaths. Her personal wisdom and guidance, which I received both in knowing her personally and from the incredible archive she left behind, have been invaluable to me during a particularly tumultuous and transformative decade in my own life. I wrote The Editor as I was coming into my full adulthood, and the books on this list helped shape my thinking along the way at times when I felt stagnant or stuck or needed to rethink both how to write Judith’s life and why her story is so vital to tell.

Sara's book list on the stories we tell about women

Sara B. Franklin Why did Sara love this book?

I’ve never read anything like The Living Mountain. A book that is, at once, an autobiography of a remarkable yet under-celebrated woman writer and an exploration of the ecstasies of experiencing the world through the body and its senses.

In gorgeously vivid prose, Shepherd invites us to pursue depth over breadth and to rely upon our felt experience as a way of knowing in the world. This book challenges dominant “hero’s journey” narratives in both content and form and suggests that all we yearn to experience and know can be found right where we find ourselves, wherever that may be. 

By Nan Shepherd,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Living Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain' Guardian

Introduction by Robert Macfarlane. Afterword by Jeanette Winterson

In this masterpiece of nature writing, Nan Shepherd describes her journeys into the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. There she encounters a world that can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and shockingly harsh at others. Her intense, poetic prose explores and records the rocks, rivers, creatures and hidden aspects of this remarkable landscape.

Shepherd spent a lifetime in search of the 'essential nature' of the Cairngorms; her quest led her to write this classic meditation on the magnificence of mountains, and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mountains, philosophy, and crime?

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