“Dare to be wise”— Horace, Immanuel Kant
At the ancient library of Alexandria, an inscription above the shelves of papyrus rolls read, “The Place of the Cure of the Soul.” Today, our knowledge goes well beyond anything imaginable in those days — if anything there is too much to read, rather than too little.
Five Books is building a comprehensive library of knowledge, curating recommendations on any topic you might want to read books about. We have covered 1,055 topics so far and aim to add at least two new ones every week.
We ask leaders in a field to make book recommendations in their area of work and explain their choices in an interview. Our interviews range from engaging introductions to specialist subjects—such as the Dutch Masters, Globalization, “Anti-memoirs”, Existentialism, Violence (or its decline)—to in-depth explorations of more personal themes and inspirations, from the likes of Woody Allen, Ian McEwan, Margaret Drabble and Elif Shafak.
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Five Books interviews are expensive to produce. If you're enjoying this interview, please support us by donating a small amount, or by buying some of our most recommended books from Amazon. Since we are enrolled in their affiliate program, we receive a small percentage of any product you buy, at no extra cost to you.
“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”—Socrates
Five Books is made possible by a number of people working part-time, on the side of their ‘real’ life/jobs and/or as volunteers. Some of us are authors or editors or students. For three of us, our real job is being at home with the children. What brings us together (and keeps us going) is how much fun it is talking to experts about interesting books.
In addition to everyone listed below, we also have a few specialist contributors. These are Thea Lenarduzzi and David Shackleton (Novels & English literature), Nigel Warburton (Philosophy), Caspar Henderson (Science and Environment) and Alec Ash (China and Asia).
We are run on a shoestring budget, mostly provided by one generous (some might say patient or even foolhardy) individual. All money donated to Five Books by others or made from Amazon sales goes back into expanding the project and commissioning more interviews.
Art & Architecture Editor, Artwork
“An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes that can be made, in a narrow field.”—Niels Bohr
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We also receive donations from readers. However, the bulk of funding that keeps the project going is provided by one generous individual, Al Breach.