What ten books should an undergraduate read?

Here is what university presidents think:

1. The Bible
2. The Odyssey
3. The Republic
4. Democracy in America
5. The Iliad
6. Hamlet
7. (tie) Wealth of Nations, The Koran, The Prince
10. (tie) Federalist Papers, Don Quixote, On Liberty, Invisible Man, King Lear, War and Peace, Moby Dick, The Lexus and the Olive Tree

I admire Tom Friedman’s writings but he is in some pretty exalted company.

I would nix The Koran, which few non-Muslims get much out of, nix The Prince, which few non-Straussians understand, and downgrade Invisible Man and Lexus, both of which are too trendy. Smith is a worthy representative of economics but I would like to see some science on the list, not a classic but rather a book that undergraduates can understand. When it comes to the category of “most cited authors” (see the link, which offers other interesting measures as well), Stephen Hawking makes an appearance at eighth, just behind Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and Aristotle.

The greatest irony?: Two university presidents cited What Color is Your Parachute?

Thanks to www.politicaltheory.info for the pointer.


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