Lucky Resources and Inspiration

Blue Blood, Craig Unger

Rebekah Harkness was one of the world’s richest women, the Standard Oil heiress, and founding patron of the Harkness Ballet. But beneath the elegant surface lurked a driven woman tormented by personal demons. This biography tells the story of how one of the richest families descended into a world of drugs, madness, suicide, and violence.

The Golden Ratio, Mario Livio

Mario Livio gives an accessible and objective history of the occurrences and uses of the Golden Ratio. He makes a strong argument for Phi as “the world’s most astonishing number” while at the same time mitigating some of the more radical claims about the number and its influence through history.

Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle 

Aristotle conceives of ethical theory as a field distinct from the theoretical sciences. Its methodology must match its subject matter—good action—and must respect the fact that in this field many generalizations hold only for the most part. We study ethics in order to improve our lives, and therefore its principle concern is the nature of human well-being. Aristotle follows Socrates and Plato in taking the virtues to be central to a well-lived life. Like Plato, he regards the ethical virtues (justice, courage, temperance and so on) as complex rational, emotional and social skills. But he rejects Plato’s idea that to be completely virtuous one must acquire, through training in the sciences, mathematics, and philosophy, an understanding of what goodness is. What we need, in order to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which such goods as friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor, and wealth fit together as a whole. In order to apply that general understanding to particular cases, we must acquire, through proper upbringing and habits, the ability to see, on each occasion, which course of action is best supported by reasons. Therefore practical wisdom, as he conceives it, cannot be acquired solely by learning general rules. We must also acquire, through practice, those deliberative, emotional, and social skills that enable us to put our general understanding of well-being into practice in ways that are suitable to each occasion.

Aristotle on Happiness: An Analysis, Kevin Shau

An analysis of Nicomachean Ethics

Happiness, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 

Source from Stanford University’s website.

The Tragedy of Limitless Growth: Re-interpreting the Tragedy of the Commons for a Century of Climate Change, Matthew MacLellan

This article argues that Garrett Hardin’s primary object of critique in his influential “The Tragedy of the Commons” is not the commons or shared property at all—as is almost universally assumed by Hardin’s critics—but is rather Adam Smith’s theory of markets and its viability for protecting scarce resources. On the basis of this revised understanding, this article then offers a different interpretation of Hardin’s thesis by assigning hermeneutic priority to the concept of “tragedy” (Aristotle, Nietzsche) rather than the concept of the “commons.” Read through the concept of tragedy, it argues that Hardin’s thesis effectively asserts a rigid incompatibility between market economics and environmental protection, and to this extent “The Tragedy of the Commons” is more aptly read as a political critique that questions the viability of unlimited growth as the axiomatic premise of planetary economics.

Does Capitalism Require Endless Growth?: Marx and Malthus Reconsidered 

Thought piece, see the title. 

In Order to Understand the Brutality of American Capitalism, You Have to Start on the Plantation, Matthew Desmond

A thought piece from the New York Times, part of the 1619 Project, which examines the legacy of slavery in America. 

W. E. B. Du Bois and the Racial Economics of Inclusive Capitalism, John N. Robinson

John Robinson III’s contribution to the “Race & Capitalism” series provides a historical perspective on what he calls American capitalism’s “selective democratization,” especially with regards to race. The myth of a self-regulating market, argues Robinson, obscures the political underpinnings of economic inclusion, which has consistently favored the “self-reliance” of white workers while excluding blacks. He draws on W. E. B. Du Bois’s analysis of the post–Civil War Freedmen’s Bureau and attempts to democratize housing assets in the 1970s through the Community Reinvestment Act as examples of policy efforts to increase inclusion that have been thwarted by racial politics.

The World is Made of Stories, David Loy 

In this dynamic and utterly novel presentation, David Loy explores the fascinating proposition that the stories we tell–about what is and is not possible, about ourselves, about right and wrong, life and death, about the world and everything in it–become the very building blocks of our experience and of reality itself. Loy uses an intriguing mixture of quotations from familiar and less-familiar sources and brief stand-alone micro-essays, engaging the reader in challenging and illuminating dialogue. As we come to see that the world is made–in a word–of stories, we come to a richer understanding of that most elusive of Buddhist ideas: shunyata, the “generative emptiness” that is the all-pervading quality inherent to all mental and physical forms in our ever-changing world. Reminiscent of Zen koans and works of sophisticated poetry, this book will reward both a casual read and deep reflection. A shorter, free version of this can be found here. 

Towards a Definition of Folklore in Practice, Simon J. Bronner

Cultural analysis on Folklore from Berkeley University 

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

The Awakening is a novel by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899. Set in New Orleans and on the Louisiana Gulf coast at the end of the 19th century, the plot centers on Edna Pontellier and her struggle between her increasingly unorthodox views on femininity and motherhood with the prevailing social attitudes of the turn-of-the-century American South. It is one of the earliest American novels that focuses on women’s issues without condescension. It is also widely seen as a landmark work of early feminism, generating a mixed reaction from contemporary readers and critics. The novel’s blend of realistic narrative, incisive social commentary, and psychological complexity makes The Awakening a precursor of American modernist literature; it prefigures the works of American novelists such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and echoes the works of contemporaries such as Edith Wharton and Henry James. It can also be considered among the first Southern works in a tradition that would culminate with the modern works of Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter, and Tennessee Williams.

The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Stetson

“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, published 1892 in The New England Magazine. It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature for its illustration of the attitudes towards mental and physical health of women in the 19th century.

Taylor Swift Woman of the Decade speech 

Emma Watson UN speech on Gender Equality 

Inspiration also came from the following books:


Accidental Genius, Mark Levy 

The Desert and the Sea, Michael Scott Moore

At The Existentialist Cafe, Sarah Bakewell

The Power of Bad, John Tierney and Roy Baumeister

Purpose, Nikos Mourkogiannis

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz

Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely

Sapiens, Yuval Novah Harari 

The Behavior Gap, Carl Richards 

The Biggest Bluff, Maria Konnikova

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, Beverley Daniel Tatum

The Ethics of Ambiguity, Simone de Beauvoir 

Being Mortal, Atul Gawande

Philosophy of Economics

23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, Ha-Joon Chang

The Richest Man in Babylon, George S. Clason

The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith

Poor Economics, Abjihit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo

Angrynomics, Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth

Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman

Winners Take All, Anand Gridharadas

The Millionaire Fastlane, MJ DeMarco

Last Ape Standing, Chip Walter

Economics: The User’s Guide, Ha-Joon Chang 

Story Telling

The Storytelling Animal, Jonathan Gottschall

The Science of Storytelling, Will Storr

Uncanny Valley, Anna Wiener

Storyworthy, Matthew Dicks

The World is Made of Stories, David Loy

Living Your Best Life

The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

Reinvent Yourself, James Altucher

Think Simple, Ken Seagall

How Will You Measure Your Life, Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, & Karen Dillon

Rare Breed, Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger 

The Art of Statistics, David Spiegelhalter 


Turtles All The Way Down, John Green 

Peter Pan, Andy Mangels and James Matthew Barrie

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

A Month in the Country, J.L. Carr

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Caroll 


There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce, Morgan Parker

Collection of William Butler Yeats poetry

Collection of E.E. Cummings poetry

The Poetry of Pablo Neruda

Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth 

The Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost