A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us. —Franz Kafka

10 Notable Authors


Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell (1940): Shapes poetry into prose; offers an unparalleled descrption of the paradoxical simplicity and complictions of love and relationships; realizes the city, Alexandria, as a character as a reminder of the influence of our environment.

Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana (1992)

The Red Book by Carl Jung (1914-1917): If you’ve reconsidered your life as a result of a personality test like the Myers-Briggs, then here’s the source.

How to Buy Stocks by Louis Engel (1994): The first practical book on investing, perhaps business, I read. There are many better books, but this book persuaded me to (a) read SEC filings and (b) open an stock-trading account at age 19 in the days when every major newspaper published a list of every publicly traded company and the previous day’s trading to the 1/8th cent.

The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham (1944): With an extensive, well-placed vocabulary, he takes you on the journey with him—a master at first-person accounts. Few can capture the essence of a character in such few words.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (1957): Read at a different point in time, this may not be on the list… Law school included a semester of international studies at the University of Edinburg. Living in a building older than our country and walking up stone steps with indentions from generations of passing feet contrasted sharply with the city I knew where new skyscraper were rising every year and progress expected. Reading Rand’s views on economics and industry brought fresh perspective to debt we owe to entrepreneurs who risk everything to achieve something “great”—sometimes succeeding.

Only Don’t Know: Selected Teaching Letters of Zen Master Seung Sahn by Seung Sahn (1982)

Various articles in the New Yorker by Peter Schjeldahl (Present)

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki (1970): If you could only read one book on Buddhism, this is it; the economy and directness of the message other books aspire to realize.

Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World by Ken Wilber (2006): Ken Wilbur writes complicated books on the subject of human development. For most, this includes some expsosure to religious faith, emphasis on faith. By high school, I’d rejected it all based on rational arguments . 20 plus years later, reading Integral Spirituality, offered a different view. S trip away the dogma and perhaps there is something connecting us all?

© Rugger Burke, 2018