The AMO Times

Advancing Brunei Forward. One Idea at a Time.

Recommended Reading List


“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”
― Cicero

Looking back at everything, I have this ardent belief that everyone must be self-reliant and seek their own form of security by building up a path they themselves create. It is about learning how to stand up by their own two feet and not be too dependent on 3rd party welfare institutions like the government. What we can do however is to make these institutions as an enabler to fulfil our full potential.

On that note, the philosophy of self-reliance has been reflected in my writings. It did not come gradually though. On the contrary, it was the result of reading and absorbing the works like that of Milton Friedman, J Paul Getty, and Fredrich Von Hayek. Without these books, I would not be who I am today. Their main message: Be an individualist.

I cannot say that I’ve been a reader all my life. If it was not for my high school principal, I would not be reading extensively (I average one book a week; when jobless, three) as I am now. I was seventeen years old when my principal imparted me his wisdom, and it happened by pure sheer luck. Standing outside his office, he came out, we struck on a friendly conversation, and advised me to read.

He gave me a short book called “One Minute Manager”, and that has changed everything for me.

Since then I have read close to 1000 books. This started around 2008 and the process intensified as I got access to when I got in the UK. Looking back my life’s greatest regret was not having the reading habit while I was still five. It could make a hell lot of a difference. But hey, let the dead bury the dead.

Anyhow, below are the top twenty books that have profoundly influenced me. Some of them could be found in your local bookstores, others to be pre-ordered or purchased abroad.

For those who intend to join my insatiable desire for reading, do start at Think and Grow Rich first. This book has made a ‘success’ of everything I touch. This website is a testament to the success I got from the wisdom I applied in the book. This book is the epitome of entrepreneurship. A must-read, the book will develop within you an attitude that is best summed up in the following quote, “I failed? Meh. I’ll start again.”

Without further ado, below are my top 20 books. (The list is allocated by the magnitude of influence it has on me).

1. An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
Learn how one remarkable man created a united front of 200M people to fight for India’s right for independence in its darkest times. It will enlighten, entertain, and sometimes sadden readers alike as they join Gandhi’s relentless quest for truth in this epic literary masterpiece.

2. The Intellectual and Socialism by Frederic Von Hayek
In the battle of ideas stood freedom against tyranny. It’s agents, intellectuals. In the height of battle shall stand only one, and it is either one of two which could seal the fate of a nation. It is a fight I’m willing to take, through my writings and enterprises, in longing to see a better Brunei through expounding the virtues and necessities of the former, not only to those around me but to the public at large.

3. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller by Ron Chernow
From humble beginnings to the richest man in history, this book recounts a quiet yet sly John D. Rockefeller in consolidating, scheming, and ultimately controlling 90% of the then world’s oil resource from complete scratch. His life is the epitome of a man whose life reflects on a God-like ability to create order out of complete chaos.

4. Man Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl
A narrative of horrific proportions about the holocaust, endured by the author during World War II, shocked me to the very core, forcing me to ponder long on Nietzsche quote he often shares in his book: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. If there is any book you should read this year, this is it.

5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The philosophies outlined in the book built up within me a spirit of epic persistence and unshakable faith that has enabled me to achieve most of the successes I have achieved and will continue to achieve. It is quite possibly the greatest motivational self-help book you will ever need to kickstart and attain your longings right now.

Then here’s the rest.

6. Free to Choose by Milton Friedman
7. Here’s How Anyone Can Succeed Now by M. R. Kopmeyer
8. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
9. How to Get Rich by J. Paul Getty
10. Bloodline by Sidney Sheldon
11. Art of War by Sun Tzu
12. Five Years of My Life by Murat Kurnaz
13. Mastery by Robert Greene
14. On Writing by Stephen King
15. The Republic by Plato
16. Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
17. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
18. The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson
19. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
20. 50 Shades of Grey (Just kidding. Here’s the final list: My Own Story by Bernard Baruch.)

Here is a recommended reading list by Ryan Holiday, a writer who I look up too. If you’ve got 5 minutes, this could be something of a read.

Thank you for reading this piece. I hope you can continue to support me by subscribing to this website.

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  8. Your reading list lacks variety and the classics. The essays & novels of George Orwell and essays of Bertrand Russell are worth reading. Classics both old and modern also provide insights into the human condition that are lacking in the rather prosaic list that you provide. You might try Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, & Russell Brand. There are many others of course but these are all important social thinkers of today and yesterday. All the best, Ron Knox

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