Here are three books recommended by John Taylor Gatto. You can skip to 1:41:14 to hear his quick summary of the three books after a question about Ayn Rand and Liberterians. This is taken from a CSPAN lecture, “Examples of Educated People.”
“Do I draw philisophic strength from writing? Absolutely! That’s one of the things we disconnect kids from in school. If any you in school had read; let me just pick out three books at random.
- Julius Ceaser’s Gallic War: You would have understood, as long as the school had helped you a little bit. You would’ve understood how a small force can take a larger, more potent force, and divide it against itself. And win the battle because the stronger force is busy argueing among themselves. That’s what you would’ve learned from Ceaser’s Gallic Wars.
- Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations: If you ever read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, which we were compelled to read in 7th grade. I’m grateful for it. That was during the second World War, before the school really went down the toilet. What it really shows you is. The single wealthiest man on the whole planet and the single most powerful man on the whole planet, says flately that nothing buy with money or order with power is worth having. I can hug him for that.
- Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan: And finally Thomas Hobbes in the middle of the 17th century spelled out how a monarch can keep a leviathan state together. That’s the name of the book, Leviathan. It’s very easy to read. And you see something that still sophisticated people are unable to understand. What Hobbes said is, wherever power seems to be, it is never there. Not seldom there, it’s never there! Where power seems to be is the front or the mouth piece, the flag catcher for the real power. I tell you it’s a mighty, a potent idea to roll around in your head and test against the George Bush’s of the world or anyone else. Really! So books should produce, and people spend years distilling one insight. But schools dont‘ teach books that way. It’s a good story, it’s a bad story. Here are a few details to pass the test.“