Life, unfortunately, is rather short, the little storeroom of the brain doesn't have extensible walls and the greatest of thinkers seem to be among the dullest, and the lengthiest, of writers. Which is a pity, because your Prince, whether they call themselves President or King or Prime Minister, has almost certainly read Machiavelli. Your therapist is steeped in Freud, your divines in Augustine. Lawmakers take their cues still from Paine, Rousseau and Hobbes. Science looks yet to Bacon, Copernicus and Darwin. So, here are the few most used, most quoted, the most given, sources of the West. The books that have defined the way the West thinks now, in their author's own words, but condensed and abridged into something readable. And there's more. By compressing these books to a tenth or so of their original size it becomes possible to read the whole thing as a single narrative, as the story of Western Thought, the story of how we got where we are now. The last chapter is waiting to be written.