Help me put together a reading list for my High Schooler

Quick post today – just not a lot of time for exposition, but I do have a question I want to get some feedback on.  I am trying to assemble a “top 10” book list for my eldest, who just started High School this past August.  The idea is simply to expand beyond what she’s going to get as part of the education from school, adding in a few things that are going to be important / valuable for her to know or know how to do as she navigates the next 8 years of schooling and beyond.
After thinking about it a (very) little bit, here is a first pass at my list, all based on things I have read:

  1. Getting Things Done – regardless of what she decides to do having a system to deal with clutter and effectively get things done will be key.
  2. 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens – ok, I didn’t read this one exacty, but the “oldie” equivalent.  I think its a gerat companion to getting things done, giving the reader a conceptual framework to help get focused.
  3. 4 Hour Work Week – this book caught a lot of flack when it first came out, but beyond the marketing and packaging I think its a great system for focusing on what you can do that actually adds value and jettisoning the rest.
  4. The Prince – how’s that for a change of gears?  No one wants to be called “Machiavellian”, but the guy did have some insight about the way people work when put into political organizations (i.e. whenever there are more than 3 people working together).  This one would have to come with careful discussion about not emulating the bahvior, but rather simply understanding it.
  5. Rubicon – the fall of the Roman Empire has so may lessons in it, even at the personal level,  that its the one history book that made my list.
  6. Screwtape Letters – a little theology can go a long way and this is one of my favorites.  A few of the books on this list I pickup and read a bit over and over again – this is one of them.
  7. A Brief History of Time – this is probably the one she’ll skip, but I think there are some important ideas in here – most specifiaclly that we live is a really wierd world and that we don’t have it all figured out.
  8. The Art of War – no, I don’t expect her to become some great general.  But b-schools all over the country aren’t churning out warriors either.  They teach this book because its great strategy pure and simple.
  9. The Essential Guide to Rhetoric – being able to clearly express yourself, argue your point and back it up with facts and logic is sorely missing from todays world.  I’m willing to take the risk that she might be too into this and end up becoming a lawyer.
  10. Learning PHP, MySQL, Javascript and CSS – being able to code will be is as important as being able to read, write and do arithmatic.

What would you take off?  What would you add?  Suggestions to remove/add based on you actually having read the book are preferred.
As a side note I am still developing the incentive scheme to get her to actually read any of these.  I’ve already promised to match whatever she can save to buy a car in a couple years.  Maybe I’ll add in a $250 kicker for each of these that she can knock out between now and then – thoughts on that are appreciated too.






10 responses to “Help me put together a reading list for my High Schooler”

  1. Martyn Avatar

    The rise and fall of the third reich by william shirer
    Through a distant mirror – Barbara Tuchman
    Guns germs and steel – Jared Diamond

    1. Chris Avatar

      Thanks Martyn – any reasoning behind each pick? I can always go read the reviews on Amazon – just interested in what you think of them / why she should read them.

  2. A Powell Avatar
    A Powell

    The Jungle
    Fast Food Nation
    Omnivore’s Dilemma
    (I love food books!)

    1. Chris Avatar

      Only read omnivores dilemma of the three. Will look at the other two. May have to take off a ‘effectiveness’ book for one of these (have three of them and no food books).

  3. burhop Avatar

    Chris, you will have the most time efficient child at the high school 🙂
    I think “Le petit Prince” should be added. There is a lot of wisdom in so few words and simple pictures. It should be read again after taking French III.
    The “Bible” and Dawkin’s the “God Delusion” (Gasp!) I’ve probably just scared some parents that read your blog. However, if you are going to discuss religion (and we all do) it should be an educated discussion where you understand multiple sides.
    “America” or maybe “Our Dumb World” There are a lot of stupid stuff that happens out there and sometimes it is nice to have a sense of humor about it.

    1. Chris Avatar

      She’s already read the little price (good suggestion though!). Read the Bible all the time and will look into the God Delusion, but I am open to all sides of the argument. If I believe in anything its testing your assumptions! Lots of books title America – specific author for that one?

      1. Chris Avatar

        Are you suggesting she read the little prince in French? Now that could be an interesting curve…

        1. burhop Avatar

          On comments, new options showed up. Did you change it?
          On “America”, it is this one: . I’m still looking for a republican besides John McCain and Ronald Regan with a sense of humor.
          Yes, Little Prince in French. What struck me was the story seemed somehow different in French.I didn’t realize before that how language could affect the expression of ideas before that which is why I value it. My french isn’t good enough for more advanced books 🙁

          1. Chris Avatar

            I don’t think I changed anything on the comments – but I will look again to make sure. Thanks for the other tips.

    2. Chris Avatar

      Also – did you just give up on the comment system, or figure out how to comment with email address only?

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