Bertand Russell, History of Western Philosophy: And its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. I want to learn more about philosophy. This book seems like a good start. A good beginning to the fractal deep dive. My interest in philosophy is part of a larger idea of structured learning; a kind of personal challenge to re-educate myself in middle age. The concept is still baking. I'll write more about it later if it takes flight.
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. This book has come at me from a thousand directions. My socioeconomic bubble demands it. Required reading evidently.
The books that qualify for this list transformed me in some important way. I've read these books more than once. They were able to jump the chasm from an 'interesting read', to manifesting themselves into my thought patterns or behavior.
Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death
David Hunt, Girt the Unauthorised History of Australia. A few books about Australia might pop up in this section. I'm planning a trip there. I thought I'd be a good toursit and ingest some required reading.
Not going to Australia? If you consider traveling to Australia as being tantamount to a roadtrip to Mars, I still highly recommend this book. Hunt's wit and humor make this a great read. If you're a Bill Bryson fan, you might like Hunt's style.
History books can sometimes feel like being beat over the head with emotionless facts. Instead, Hunt tells the story of Australia which turns out to have some amazing twists and turns. It includes many actors we already know from other parts of history, but may have not understood their roles in Australia.
Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash. Not for me, but people do really love this book. I'm not a fiction fan so it was a reach.