Croft Press / David


David Wallace Croft

2011 Jun 29 Wed

Top Ten

This is my top ten list of books that I recommend. Many of these books had a profound influence on my life. It is my hope that my children will take the opportunity to read these books once they become young adults. I have listed them in the order in which I think they should be read.

#1 The Selfish Gene

I frequently recommend this book. The idea that we are meat machines serving to ensure the survival of our genes as the individual units of reproduction is astounding. This book also introduced the term "meme" into the modern vocabulary. From the examples provided by the author, I came to understand a concept which I call "genetic egoism, the rational self-interest of the genes".

#2 Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism

I must have absorbed Ayn Rand's philosophy of Individualism through reading her fiction novels and the imprint she left on the Libertarian Party. I was unable to put a definitive name on it, though, until I picked up one of her non-fiction books and read the first chapter, "Objectivist Ethics". I now understand the debt I owe her for my philosophical heritage. I highly recommend this book to fans of her fictional works and to libertarians.

#3 American Religious Humanism

This book by Mason Olds documents the origins of my religion. It was first published in 1977 as "Religious Humanism in America: Dietrich, Reese, and Potter". The 1996 revision added the history of the movement following World War II. The 2006 revision is available by request for about $10 from the HUUmanists.

Please also see my Religious Humanist Reading List.

Once you have read these first three books in this top ten list, you will have the background context for my 2005 sermon The Virtue of Selfish Genes.

#4 Life, Liberty, and Happiness: An Optimist Manifesto

This blend of Humanism, Libertarianism, and Objectivism comes closest of any one book to describing the combination of my own personal beliefs. Despite the fact that the author opines on dozens of issues on a variety of topics such as sex, religion, and politics, I agreed with just about everything in this book except for his position on capital punishment. Please see the review on my personal blog for a listing of the table of contents.

#5 The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Using a checklist can help you achieve your goals in all areas of your life, personal and professional. This book documents how simple checklists are saving lives.

#6 Rich Dad, Poor Dad

This books teaches you how to have your money working for you instead of you working for your money. I do not necessarily believe that real estate is the best place to put your money but I think the author successfully makes the point about the nature of investment and debt.

#7 Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief

You should read this book if you are at all active in volunteer organizations. It will teach you how to move the business of the majority forward in a democratic fashion without ignoring the voices and the rights of the minority.

#8 1984

I read this book in 1984 while I was in high school and it put quite a scare into me. As I was reading, I realized that I had already witnessed some of the techniques described. My views on government and religion were never the same afterwards.

#9 Time Enough for Love

I started reading the science fiction of Robert Heinlein when I was a pre-teen. I think it influenced me deeply and a number of other people that travel in my circles. I picked this particular Heinlein novel because it is one of my favorites.

#10 The First Immortal: A Novel of the Future

If you love life and hate death as I do, this science fiction novel provides a soft introduction to a scientifically feasible mechanism for survival. What is proposed is not guaranteed but it is better than no hope at all.


The following is a list of other books that I have enjoyed and that I recommend. I start many books. Here are some that I have finished.

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