Reading/Listening Lists for millennials

A student in my entrepreneurship class — a millennial naturally –asked for general reading suggestions. I sent the following email to my class.

“One of you had asked for suggestions for books to read (but wouldn’t specify the category)
That’s a hard assignment. So, trying to think about what might resonate with the largest number of a millennial class– and would not normally cross you radar — this is a list of books and podcasts, based on what has caught my attention in the last 4-5 years and a few “old” favorites. (The list, while mainly non-fiction, excludes business and economics books and anything written by a friend)
1. Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time is simply the best series of podcasts, in my opinion. He has now recorded about 900 of them and I have learned something interesting from every single one that I have heard and have almost never been disappointed. All the episodes are free to download.
2. Listening to one of Bragg’s episodes led me to Peter Millican’s series on General Philosophy at Oxford.
There is an update of Millican’s 2010 series (also available on the site) and also free to download
3. How could I missed this when it first appeared?
It’s a staggering writerly achievement if nothing else. And there is lots else. (If you look you will find audio files of the book on the web. (It also oddly reminded me of Aubrey Menen’s A Space Within the Heart which I read decades and decades ago.
4. I’ve been struggling for the past many years to make sense of “productive knowledge” and have wondered at times if I was trying to bite off more than I could chew. But then I read these two volumes by Peter Burke.
That there are so few reviews on Amazon is a sad commentary of our times and tastes…
5. Another, and on the light side, “how could I have missed these, for so many years” selection. (Chekov’s short stories)
Now for some of my old favorites.
6. I first read this (Thomas Kuhn’s masterwork) as a grad student in the mid-1980s. I missed much of the significance I am sorry to say – as I realized after reading it again recently. Fair warning: not an easy read (unlike nearly everything above)
7. I’m a great fan of close observation – and a skeptic of grand sweeping generalization. If your tastes run in that direction read:
a) Whyte’s Street Corner Society:
b) Anything by V.S. Naipaul. As a writer, he’s a master stylist, and considered the best there was in the English language when he died.
I read this in college and was much taken by it:
He wrote much later, the third of his “India” trilogy:
c) Oliver Sachs’s The Man Who Mistook his wife for a Hat.
9. Dos Passos’s classic trilogy, which I read in 1987 on a month-long canoeing trip in Alaska:
Dos Passos was a committed “leftie” when he wrote this. He switched sides later.
10. Finally, for frothy fun, David Lodge:
This one verges on a “business” book, but it really isn’t

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