10 books like The Stone Reader

By Peter Catapano, Simon Critchley,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Stone Reader. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Therapy of Desire

By Martha C. Nussbaum,

Book cover of The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics

Each chapter in this book wrestles with central themes of Hellenistic Philosophy, which includes Stoicism, but also Epicureanism and Skepticism. The essays are wonderfully written, and deal with pressing eternal problems, such as the political significance of anger, and the nature and pitfalls of physical pleasure. Dr. Nussbaum relates the Stoics and other Hellenistic philosophers to pressing contemporary issues and concerns.


The Therapy of Desire

By Martha C. Nussbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics practiced philosophy not as a detached intellectual discipline but as a worldly art of grappling with issues of daily and urgent human significance. In this classic work, Martha Nussbaum maintains that these Hellenistic schools have been unjustly neglected in recent philosophic accounts of what the classical "tradition" has to offer. By examining texts of philosophers such as Epicurus, Lucretius, and Seneca, she recovers a valuable source for current moral and political thought and encourages us to reconsider philosophical argument as a technique through which to improve lives. Written for general readers and specialists, The Therapy…


Black Mass

By John Gray,

Book cover of Black Mass

John Gray is an exceptional writer. In that respect alone, he is already reminiscent of the Stoics, who are some of the best writers among philosophers. Black Mass deals with the pitfalls of anger and ideology, when it comes to politics. The Stoics were famously skeptical of both, and urge practitioners to resist becoming too impassioned in political affairs—which reliably roil the soul.

Black Mass

By John Gray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A prophetic warning against the foolishness of crusades, John Gray's Black Mass challenges our belief in human progress.

Our conventional view of history is wrong. It is founded on a pernicious myth of an achievable utopia that in the last century alone caused the murder of tens of millions.

In Black Mass John Gray tears down the religious, political and secular beliefs that we insist are fundamental to the human project, examines the interaction of terrorism, declining world resources, environmental change, human myths of redemption and a flawed belief in Western democracy, and shows us how a misplaced faith in…


The Human Condition

By Hannah Arendt,

Book cover of The Human Condition

Hannah Arendt is one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century. I love her ability to weave together continental philosophy, in which she was trained, with the dilemmas of the modern world. Arendt grapples with the origins of our actions, which belong to us but also precede us, as we are all embedded in the march of history. This is fundamentally a critique of both liberalism and neoliberalism, which celebrate the individual at the expense of the relational. Arendt makes the case for why humans can only express their ‘who-ness’—their identity and humanityby participating in the public sphere, within the ‘web of relations’ between individuals who come together at a ‘shared table.’ This is a book I return to again and again, each time getting more insight into the complex ideas of this gifted philosopher.

The Human Condition

By Hannah Arendt,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Human Condition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past year has seen a resurgence of interest in the political thinker Hannah Arendt, "the theorist of beginnings," whose work probes the logics underlying unexpected transformations-from totalitarianism to revolution.

A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then-diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are…


St. Paul

By Karen Armstrong,

Book cover of St. Paul: The Apostle We Love to Hate

Karen Armstrong’s book on St Paul –her second—is wonderful. It takes into account recent scholarship on the historical Paul, and in accessible fashion, explains what was controversial about his agenda, and what was likely omitted or edited out of his work. Paul’s mission was influenced in no small part by the prevalent Stoic thinking—above all, cosmopolitanism: Paul was a cosmopolitan, literally, a citizen of no place—but of the universe itself. And central to his understanding of Jesus’ teaching, Paul wished to wash away the parochial distinctions that divide us. Hence the baptismal cry he advised: no more Greek or Jew, man or woman, master or slave!

St. Paul

By Karen Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

St Paul is known throughout the world as the first Christian writer, authoring fourteen of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. But as Karen Armstrong demonstrates in St Paul: The Misunderstood Apostle, he also exerted a more significant influence on the spread of Christianity throughout the world than any other figure in history.

It was Paul who established the first Christian churches in Europe and Asia in the first century, Paul who transformed a minor sect into the largest religion produced by Western civilization, and Paul who advanced the revolutionary idea that Christ could serve as a model for…


Hearts Unbroken

By Cynthia Leitich Smith,

Book cover of Hearts Unbroken

This is one of the best Native books I’ve ever read. As a white-passing Native who lived away from the tribe, I really identified with Louise Wolfe’s experience as one of the few Native families in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. Lou’s struggle against racism on a macro and micro scale is relatable, and the story is wonderfully rewarding. It's a must-read.

Hearts Unbroken

By Cynthia Leitich Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of an American Indian Youth Literature Award

New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith turns to realistic fiction with the thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school — and first love.

When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in…


The Ventriloquists

By E. R. Ramzipoor,

Book cover of The Ventriloquists

Based on a true story, this book was a treasure of a find, detailing the rebellion of artists in Nazi-occupied Belgium in 1943. Helene, a girl disguised as a male newspaper hawker, is only a side character – a cog in the machine of the farce newspaper being published by the rebels – but her incredible voice brings the movement to life, while expertly weaving in her own questions about gender and sexuality in a world she’s not sure has a place for her. The author later came out on the nonbinary spectrum as well, which really brought home for me how many of us explore our identities through our writing before coming to terms with significant truths about ourselves.

The Ventriloquists

By E. R. Ramzipoor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“[A] remarkable saga.... Engrossing.” —Booklist, starred review

In this triumphant debut inspired by true events, a ragtag gang of journalists and resistance fighters risk everything for an elaborate scheme to undermine the Reich.

The Nazis stole their voices. But they would not be silenced.

Brussels, 1943. Twelve-year-old street orphan Helene survives by living as a boy and selling copies of the country’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir, now turned into Nazi propaganda. Helene’s world changes when she befriends a rogue journalist, Marc Aubrion, who draws her into a secret network that publishes dissident underground newspapers.

The Nazis track down Aubrion’s…


Dave Barry's Greatest Hits

By Dave Barry,

Book cover of Dave Barry's Greatest Hits

A collection of American humorist Dave Barry’s newspaper columns, which I’m often re-reading and laughing a great deal. Definitely ‘of it’s time’ in parts (aka a bit dated), but it also contains plenty of general observations about life, family, and defending your home against tornados. A good one for the loo, as shaking with laughter might help you ‘move things along’. 

Dave Barry's Greatest Hits

By Dave Barry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dave Barry's Greatest Hits as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Dave Barry is on the loose, no one is safe!

What Dave Barry did for the men’s movement in his Complete Guide to Guys and for foreign relations when he did Japan he now does for . . . everything in America. The rapacious observer of Tupperware ladies and leisure concept salesmen sounds off on:

Football—Football is more than just a game. It is a potential opportunity to see a live person lying on the ground with a bone sticking out of his leg, while the fans, to show their appreciation, perform “the wave.”

Sailing—There’s nothing quite like getting…


Our Front Pages

By The Onion,

Book cover of Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source

I discovered The Onion late in life as well, and also through their website. Which, yes, I have bookmarked as well—I love most just their headlines. And discovered, again, they'd actually published a book of headlines! 'Nuff said.

Our Front Pages

By The Onion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


From The Birth Of A Nation To The Death Of Journalism

Since its founding by a bloodthirsty tyrant in 1756, The Onion has not merely changed the way we think about the news -- it has changed whether we think about the news at all. As the first decade of this new millennium draws to a close, Our Front Pages shows us the first thing that presidents, kings, prime ministers, and popes saw when they opened their eyes each morning for the last 21 years. Now you, the common reader and citizen, can see what they saw and be as…


In Praise of Idleness

By Bertrand Russell,

Book cover of In Praise of Idleness: The Classic Essay with a New Introduction by Bradley Trevor Greive

Published in 1932, this essay hails from an era long before side hustles, smartphones and social media. And yet it still feels fresh and relevant today. Russell saw the cult of work as a form of social control – you keep people down by keeping them working. His view that more time for leisure would create a kinder, gentler society chimes with the Slow philosophy. In Praise of Idleness is a delicious paean to the art of doing things – or nothing at all – for the sheer joy of it.

In Praise of Idleness

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Bertrand Russell is considered “the Voltaire of his time,” and Bradley Trevor Greive is considered one of the funniest people of his. Russell was a Nobel Laureate, and Greive is a New York Times bestselling author. Together, with Russell bringing the philosophy and Greive bringing the hilarious commentary, this book is a classic.

In his celebrated essay, In Praise of Idleness, Russell champions the seemingly incongruous notion that realizing our full potential―and thus enjoying the greatest possible success and happiness―is not accomplished by working harder or smarter, but through harnessing the extraordinary power of idleness.

Russell’s penetrating insights and exquisite…


A Short History of Decay

By E. M. Cioran, Richard Howard (translator),

Book cover of A Short History of Decay

This book is the most relentlessly pessimistic book I have ever read. It will help you overcome optimism. The volume is comprised mostly of short aphorisms, each with their own title, and I’d say the titles alone are worth the price of entry. But more to the point, there is a fantastic essay in the middle called "Faces of Decadence," which tells the story of history as a story of decay and decline. It’s a familiar refrain, but I think the version that appears here is among the best. Certainly the most stylish.

A Short History of Decay

By E. M. Cioran, Richard Howard (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Short History of Decay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

E. M. Cioran confronts the place of today's world in the context of human history-focusing on such major issues of the twentieth century as human progress, fanaticism, and science-in this nihilistic and witty collection of aphoristic essays concerning the nature of civilization in mid-twentieth-century Europe. Touching upon Man's need to worship, the feebleness of God, the downfall of the Ancient Greeks and the melancholy baseness of all existence, Cioran's pieces are pessimistic in the extreme, but also display a beautiful certainty that renders them delicate, vivid, and memorable. Illuminating and brutally honest, A Short History of Decay dissects Man's decadence…


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