Alan Kay from Viewpoints Research Institute recommends his reading list for beginners

Alan Curtis Kay is an American computer scientist. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society of Arts.
A History of Western Philosophy
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A History of Western Philosophy

by Bertrand Russell

About the book:  Hailed as “lucid and magisterial” by The Observer, this book is universally acclaimed as the outstanding one-volume work on the subject of Western philosophy.Considered to be one of the most important philosophical works of all time, the History of Western Philosophy is a dazzlingly unique exploration of the ideologies of significant philosophers throughout the ages—from Plato and Aristotle through to Spinoza, Kant and the twentieth century. Written by a man who changed the history of philosophy himself, this is an account that has never been rivaled since its first publication over sixty years ago. Since its first publication in 1945, Lord Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy is still unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, its clarity, its erudition, its grace, and its wit. In seventy-six chapters he traces philosophy from the rise of Greek civilization to the emergence of logical analysis in the twentieth century. Among the philosophers considered are: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, the Atomists, Protagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Cynics, the Sceptics, the Epicureans, the Stoics, Plotinus, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Benedict, Gregory the Great, John the Scot, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Occam, Machiavelli, Erasmus, More, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, the Utilitarians, Marx, Bergson, James, Dewey, and lastly the philosophers with whom Lord Russell himself is most closely associated—Cantor, Frege, and Whitehead, coauthor with Russell of the monumental Principia Mathematica.

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The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
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The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

by Julian Jaynes

About the book:  At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion -- and indeed our future.

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The Ghost in the Machine
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The Ghost in the Machine

by Arthur Koestler

About the book:  An examination of the human impulse towards self-destruction suggests that in the course of human evolution, a pathological split between emotion and reason developed

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The Blind Watchmaker
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The Blind Watchmaker

by Richard Dawkins

About the book:  Dawkins explains and argues how the theory of evolution by natural selection refutes the creationist watchmaker theory that posits a divine creator.

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The Republic
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The Republic

by Plato

About the book:  The Republic by Plato from Coterie Classics All Coterie Classics have been formatted for ereaders and devices and include a bonus link to the free audio book. “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” ― Plato, The Republic Plato’s Republic is a classic text that explores the nature of the individual and asks some of the most basic questions of human existence: What is reality? What is knowledge? What is morality?

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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
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Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

by Shunryu Suzuki

About the book:  Consists of a collection of stories and meditations on Zen practice that originated from a series of talks given by Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki to a small group in California.

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Flow
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Flow

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

About the book:  Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of "optimal experience" have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

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The Double Helix
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The Double Helix

by James D. Watson Ph.D.

About the book:  The story of the most significant biological breakthrough of the century - the discovery of the structure of DNA. 'It is a strange model and embodies several unusual features. However, since DNA is an unusual substance, we are not hesitant in being bold' By elucidating the structure of DNA, the molecule underlying all life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionised biochemistry. At the time, Watson was only 24. His uncompromisingly honest account of those heady days lifts the lid on the real world of great scientists, with their very human faults and foibles, their petty rivalries and driving ambition. Above all, he captures the extraordinary excitement of their desperate efforts to beat their rivals at King's College to the solution to one of the great enigmas of the life sciences.

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Cicero
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Cicero

by Marcus Tullius Cicero

About the book:  A lively portrait of the quintessential Roman politician describes the life and times of the ancient statesman, based on the witty and candid letters that Cicero wrote to his friend Atticus in which he described the events and personalities that shaped the final days of Republican Rome. 25,000 first printing.

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Modern Man in Search of a Soul
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Modern Man in Search of a Soul

by C.G. Jung

About the book:  Modern Man in Search of a Soul is the perfect introduction to the theories and concepts of one of the most original and influential religious thinkers of the twentieth century. Lively and insightful, it covers all of his most significant themes, including man's need for a God and the mechanics of dream analysis. One of his most famous books, it perfectly captures the feelings of confusion that many sense today. Generation X might be a recent concept, but Jung spotted its forerunner over half a century ago. For anyone seeking meaning in today's world, Modern Man in Search of a Soul is a must.

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