A History of Ideas

There are certain books that are essential to an education about the human condition of which I believe should be available for free and with easy access to everybody. I have gathered together some of the most influential writings of the world in an attempt to both preserve and foster easy access to these works. Each e-book on these lists is in PDF format. I have organized them by topic (many topics intersect) and the last name of the author.





Political & Cultural




Sacred Books of the East

The Sacred Books of the East is a monumental 50-volume set of English translations of Asian religious texts, edited by Max Müller and published by the Oxford University Press between 1879 and 1910. It incorporates the essential sacred texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, and Islam.

The Early Church Fathers

The Early Church Fathers were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700. In the past, the Church Fathers were regarded as authoritative and more restrictive definitions were used which sought to limit the list to authors treated as such. However, the definition has widened as scholars of patristics, the study of the Church Fathers, have expanded their scope.

The Harvard Classics

The Harvard Classics, originally known and marketed as Dr. Eliot’s Five-Foot Shelf of Books, is a 50-volume series of classic works from world literature, important speeches, and historical documents compiled and edited by Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot. Eliot believed that a careful reading of the series and by following the included 11 reading plans in Volume 50 would offer a reader, in the comfort of home, the benefits of a liberal education, entertainment, and counsel of history’s greatest creative minds. The 50 volumes were first printed in 1909 (first 25 volumes) and 1910 (next 25 volumes), and the collection was subsequently expanded when the Lectures on The Harvard Classics was added in 1914 and Fifteen Minutes a Day – The Reading Guide in 1916.