Conservatism, Goodreads, and the Autodidact

I recently encountered the word “autodidact” for the first time. My exposure came in a series of tweets from Tom Nichols (@radiofreetom) on Twitter.

On 28 December 2016 Nichols wrote:

Wasn’t there something better, something more that I could aspire to?

These kind of thoughts are what lead me to devout myself to reading the philosophical underpinnings of the ideology and movement to which I ascribe. These kinds of questioning of the value of the Goodreads model of reading as many works as possible, regardless of their actual merit lead me to step off into more scholarly pursuits in the later half of last year.

Tom Nichols warnings about the modern variation of autodidact-ism which amounted more to half educated internet talking points than true self improvement and education served as a kind of warning to me.

The message was clear: I needed to read better, not read more.

So this year, instead of measuring my success based in pure numerical fashion, I am devoting myself to self improvement by reading as many works of high intellectual merit as I can, with a general goal of 12- one book per month.

To date I’ve finished two such intellectual pursuits- Our Enemy the State by Albert Nock and Comeback: Conservatism that Can Win Again by David Frum.

My next pursuits in roughly anticipated order shall be:

Basic Economics Thomas Sowell
The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith
The Road to Serfdom F.A. Hayek
To Build a Castle Vladimir Bukovsky
The Death of Expertise Tom Nichols
The Great Good Thing Andrew Klavan
The Constitution of Liberty F. A. Hayek
Leviathan Thomas Hobbes
Writings of Thomas Paine (Volumes 1-4)
Ethics Aristotle
The Republic Plato
Second Treatise of Government John Locke
Mind and Cosmos Thomas Nagel

I’d be interested in hearing from others who have undertaken similar projects of self improvement and self learning, particularly others interested in learning on the subjects of politics and Conservatism.

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