The Hogwarts Sorting Hat has been said to place kids based on qualities they value rather than those they exhibit — still, each of the school's Houses does tend to collect a certain kind of student. Gryffindors are often brave and daring; Ravenclaws brainy and witty; Slytherins ambitious and cunning; and Hufflepuffs patient and loyal. It stands to reason, therefore, that each house would appreciate its own collection of reading material — but what actual books might a Gryffindor read? How would they compare to the reading list of a Slytherin?

It was while perusing acclaimed HP fanfic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality that Jesse Galef (half of the brother/sister duo behind Measure of Doubt — a fantastic blog dedicated to rationality, science and philosophy) got to thinking about this exact question; what might a rational student from each house actually read? He writes:

I realized that there’s actually quite a lot of potential for interesting reading in each house. Ravenclaws would be interested in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, and mathematics; Gryffindors in combat, ethics, and democracy; Slytherins in persuasion, rhetoric, and political machination; and Hufflepuffs in productivity, happiness, and the game theory of cooperation.

After much brainstorming, Galef produced four incredibly well-thought-out reading lists (one for each house), photographed their physical counterparts on a bookshelf, and even created a series of Facebook cover images, "so that you can display your pride both in rationality and in your chosen house." Here's the cover image for Gryffindor (click to enlarge), followed by its corresponding booklist. For the other houses' lists, go check out Measure of Doubt.



A Game of Thrones

The Guns of August

Herodotus - The Histories


The Landmark Thucydides

The Western Way of War

The Art of War

The Killer Angels



The Strategy of Conflict


Arms and Influence

The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory

The Future of Freedom



The Republic


The Great Political Theories v.1

The Great Political Theories v.2


On the Social Contract

Profiles in Courage

The Law of Peoples


Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality ch. 1—17

Rights, Liberties, and Justice


Utilitarianism, On Liberty, Considerations on Representative Government

Political Theologies


Classics of Moral and Political Theory

Nicomachean Ethics



What Money Can't Buy

The Life You Can Save


Animal Liberation

The Righteous Mind


Good Without God

Forbidden Fruit