When new people joined the Research Scholars Programme recently, someone asked me what I thought all of them should read.
I think the only serious answer to this question is: There may not be a single such thing. People’s circumstances just vary too much. And if there was something it would be good for everyone to read, it would be unclear if I could tell.
Nevertheless, I found this prompt surprisingly useful. I’m sharing my half-serious answer below. If I spent another hour on this, it would probably add things, and might remove others.
I would be interested in other people’s answers to this question—even (and maybe especially) if they’re similarly half-serious or off-the-cuff. To be clear, I’m not hoping to generate a “definite” reading list or anything like that, and I would be pretty worried if people took responses too seriously. However, I do think it might surface some interesting leads for some readers including myself.
I suspect that the appropriate reaction to my answer is like 80% “this tells me something about Max”, 15% “maybe some things in here are actually useful for me to read, but maybe not”, and 5% “this tells me something about the world”. I suspect it does fairly poorly at “being a well-prioritized and comprehensive reading list anyone should use as-is”.