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Other Tucker Writing

The Tucker Max Reading List

I get so many emails asking me the authors that influenced me or what I books I recommend, so I decided to list them here. These are not necessarily the “best” books I’ve ever read, but they are the ones that’ve had the most personal impact on me. Each book on this list, I’ve read at least three times:

1. Confederacy of Dunces: My favorite fiction book, and probably my favorite book ever. This is the type of book that humbles you, and makes you understand how great writing can be.

2. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: I cannot over-emphasize how important this book was to my development as a man. It has nothing to do with black or white, it is about the internal struggle of a man to overcome his surroundings and deal with his personal demons. I have read this book about 10 times, and still love it. I relate to Malcolm very intensely as a person. Malcolm’s self-reliance, struggle against an oppressive system, and redemption through education hits close to home.

3. A River Runs Through It: The piece of fiction that almost single-handedly taught me about economy of writing, and what it means to be loyal and to lose a friend. My best friend killed himself in college, and reading this was one of the things that helped me get through it (my friend was very much like Paul, the brother).

4. The Neon Bible: Probably the best first person perspective ever written on youth. Infinitely better than Catcher in the Rye.

5. Fight Club: The book that changed my life, that crystallized and defined for me my emotions about working in a corporate world, and put me on the path to where I am now. I recommend the movie as well; this is one of the few movies that stands up to the book.

6. Sperm Wars: There are better books about evolutionary psychology and human sexuality–especially now–but this is the first one I read on the subject, and the one that really opened my eyes to the field.

7. The Godfather: The movie is great, but the book is actually better. It’s hard to describe why this book is so good; Mario Puzo doesn’t even regard it as his best, though I think it stands far above his others. In a weird way, it’s a guide to modern manhood. Read it and you’ll understand.

8. Hatchet: The first book I ever bought and read on my own, I think I was 10 or so. I still love it, it’s the perfect starter book for smart young kids, and every time I re-read it, I see something new, something I didn’t understand when I was young.

9. The Adapted Mind: The second book (after Sperm Wars) I read about evolutionary psychology, and very much the bible of the field. Unless you have a bio background, I would probably recommend other books before trying to tackle this one though, namely The Moral Animal.

10. The History of the Peloponnesian War: You almost have to learn this in a classroom setting, because you need some background in ancient Greece to understand it. I had David Bevington teach it to me, and he brought the fucking text alive. But if nothing else, read the Funeral Oration by Pericles. The man perfected western style public speaking.

11. The Alchemist: I am a huge admirer of Paulo Coehlo, and this book is, I think, his best. If you are someone who wants more from life than just being another sheep, it will resonate with you. It captures the emotional struggle of someone who is trying to break free from the bonds of the standard path and search for their personal destiny.

12: The War of Art: I have all the admiration in the world for Steven Pressfield, and this book is one of the main reasons why. He understands what it means to be an artist better than anyone else I have read.