Carl Sagan’s Undergrad Reading List: 40 Essential Texts for a Well-Rounded Thinker

Ear­li­er this year, we brought you Neil de Grasse Tyson’s List of 8 (Free) Books Every Intel­li­gent Per­son Should Read. The list gen­er­at­ed a lot of buzz and debate. Indeed you, the read­ers, con­tributed 133 com­ments to the post, a record for us. Giv­en your enthu­si­asm, you might want to check this out — a new­ly-dis­cov­ered read­ing list from the man who men­tored Tyson as a youth and laid the foun­da­tion for Tyson’s cur­rent role as pub­lic scientist/intellectual. Yes, we’re talk­ing about Carl Sagan.

Last month, The Library of Con­gress acquired a col­lec­tion of Carl Sagan’s papers, which includ­ed Sagan’s 1954 read­ing list from his under­grad days at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go. There are some heady sci­en­tif­ic texts here, to be sure. But also some great works from the West­ern philo­soph­i­cal and lit­er­ary tra­di­tion.

We’re talk­ing Pla­to’s Repub­lic, Shake­speare’s Julius Cae­sar, The Bible, Gide’s The Immoral­ist, and Hux­ley’s Young Archimedes. It’s just the kind of texts you’d expect a true human­ist like Sagan — let alone a UChica­go grad — to be ful­ly immersed in.

If you want to par­tic­i­pate in the same intel­lec­tu­al tra­di­tion, we sug­gest vis­it­ing our pre­vi­ous post, The Har­vard Clas­sics: A Free, Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tion, which puts 51 vol­umes of essen­tial works right at your fin­ger­tips.

You can view Sagan’s list in a large for­mat here.

via Brain Pick­ings

Relat­ed Con­tent:

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices

Neil deGrasse Tyson Deliv­ers the Great­est Sci­ence Ser­mon Ever

35 Free Online Physics Cours­es

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