Draft, January 2014.  I composed this list at the request of a student.

Not necessarily the best, or the most inherently influential, but the most influential for me, and not in some specific respect, but simply as a human being.   The titles in bold represent the 10 which I regard as most essential.   The list can basically be read in the order given below.


Plato, Apology

Plato, Gorgias

Wisdom books of the Old Testament (Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus)

C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy

Joseph Pieper, Leisure the Basis of Culture

A.G. Sertillanges, The Intellectual Life

Jacques Maritain, Three Reformers

C.S. Lewis, Perelandra Trilogy

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning



F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?

The New Testament

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis, Miracles

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ

Fr. John Hardon, History of Christianity in the 20th Century

G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Hartmann Grisar, Luther



G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Malcolm Muggeridge, Something Beautiful for God

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistles

Little Flowers of St. Francis

G.K. Chesterton, The Dumb Ox

Hugh Pope, St. Augustine of Hippo

Karl Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism

John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua

John Henry Newman, Development of Christian Doctrine

John Henry Newman, Idea of a University

Patricia Treese, A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe

St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

Cuthbert Butler, The Vatican Council

John Henry Newman, Sermons on Various Occasions

John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons

Karol Wojtyła, Love and Responsibility

St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way



Aristotle, Categories

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles

Thomas Reid, Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man

Thomas Reid, Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind

J.L. Austin, Philosophical Papers

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Max Scheler, Ressentiment

Etienne Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience



Thucydides, Peloponnesian Wars

Jack Wilke, Handbook on Abortion

Abraham Lincoln, Collected Speeches and Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Stephen Oates, With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln

Michael Shaara, Killer Angels

Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences

G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World



Frederick Douglass, Autobiography

Anne Frank, Diary

Mark Twain, Joan of Arc

James Boswell, Life of Johnson

Sigrid Unset, Kristin Lavaransdatter

Bernal Diaz, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico

Francis X. Talbot, Saint among the Hurons: The Life of St. Jean de Brebeuf

Francis X. Talbot, Saint among the Savages: The Life of St. Isaac Jogues

Leo Tolstoy, Short Stories

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina