Which Old Books Are Worth Reading? The Ones Forgotten And Hated.
Why not just read critically instead of discarding great works? For example, in Herodotus or Thucydides you can extract that the Greeks were a group of petty, vain, and prone to self-interest resulting in their near destruction. In the other hand you can critically infer that the Persian Kings were lording over a diverse, tolerant, empire who thought and generally acted in a much more recognizable manner to us in the west today they were when dealing with troublesome Ionians.
Lol all eras are defined by their lies .. is max pessimo. How about all eras are defined by their truths?
Here is a re-reading of one of the oldest, most foundational texts in our literature: https://shorturl.at/clxQ7
Why are old books are worth reading; because in an era when printing books was super expensive, only the best works got printed. These days, there are hundreds if not thousands of new books published every week. Just imagine a histogram based upon the quality of the thinking, but likely the left half is mostly chopped off by the publishers; so it's just the right half of the slope. If you read a book and like it, maybe you'll keep it on your shelf, or lend/gift it to a friend. If you don't like a book, you'll throw it away, or take it to the used book store where it ends up on the shelf or in the trash.
But as to the question of which old books are worth reading. I refer to 'The Western Canon.' Caveat here: I mean the oft-argued list of books comprising the canon, not the standalone book with that title. The canon is the set of books which sparked and molded the enlightenment.
There's bad ideas in the canon too. Consider The Communist Manifesto is in the western canon, as is Mein Kampf. Its good to read bad ideas to see how they're formed. For instance, the current anti-Semitism craze didn't just jump-up out of the mud overnight. For the past ten years ... when it became acceptable to single out 'that basket of deplorables.' Only no one mentioned; 'that basket' of mostly WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) also contained about 85% of the WASPs fellow travelers—the religious Jews. My point is that any time a group is being singled out—for their two minutes of hate—you know things are going south. The secular Jews today are all 'why me, why me' when just last month they were all about "That basket of deplorables." If you read the good works, you may learn to step above the fray—act like a Daoist Monk with a Zen Garden—walk around the edges and view the problem from all perspectives.
In The Western Canon, is the book Two Years Before The Mast. Written by Richard Henry Dana. Dana was a student at Harvard in the 1830s. His eyesight was failing, and he thought—probably correctly—that he needed to take a break from books and get outside. Against his parent's wishes, he signed-on as a sailor on a trading ship bound for California. After his voyage Dana returned to Harvard, completed his education, and became instrumental in writing maritime law. The important thing, is you can spend a week reading this work, and take in the defining moments of Dana's life. You can turn these defining thoughts into your own thoughts, let them mold your thinking, view the problem from Dana's perspective. This is how the canon makes you a better person.
So any interesting book you would recommend to get a very different perspective than what we can get nowadays ?
Most great hypotheses are obvious to most people ie don't have kids out of wedlock, don't smoke crack. There are some that apply to you and are exceptions to the great hypotheses for most other people. Maybe you should try to make lots of money outperforming the stock market even if most people can't do that if you have a good enough idea on how the stock market works.
It's very hard to judge the counterfactual though of following vs not following the hypothesis since you can't rewind your life. It kinda reminds me of that experiment where people made major life decisions on a coin flip and seemed no worse off whether or not they did it