Hum 10 Harvard Reading List – Essential Books for a Liberal Arts Education

The Humanities 10 course at Harvard University features an enriching and diverse reading list that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries to explore the complex web of human experiences, ideas, and cultures. Spanning across different epochs and regions, this curated collection of texts delves into the realms of literature, philosophy, history, and more, allowing students to engage critically with the multifaceted tapestry of human existence. Through a combination of classics, lesser-known works, and contemporary pieces, the reading list challenges students to grapple with fundamental questions about society, morality, identity, and the human condition. By analyzing these rich and thought-provoking texts, students embark on a transformative intellectual journey, honing their analytical and interpretive skills while gaining a deeper understanding of the intricate interplay between humanity and the world around us.

Do Harvard Students Read a Lot?

Despite being one of the most intellectual and prestigious institutions in the world, Harvard students often struggle to prioritize leisure reading due to their overwhelming academic commitments. With demanding problem sets, midterms, and the seemingly endless obligations to various extracurricular activities, finding time for personal reading becomes a challenging task.

In addition, Harvards rich academic environment exposes students to a wide range of intellectual pursuits, leaving little time for extraneous reading. With access to renowned professors, research opportunities, and engaging classroom discussions, students are immersed in a world of intellectual stimulation. While this environment fosters a love for learning, it may leave little time or desire for leisure reading outside of academic requirements.

Nonetheless, there are still those who recognize the importance of reading beyond their assigned texts and strive to incorporate it into their lives, even amidst the challenges and pressures of being a Harvard student.

At Harvard, students engage with a diverse range of texts, hoping to broaden their knowledge and intellectual horizons. Among the 100,000 texts analyzed by the Project, three prominent titles emerge as staples in their reading list. These foundational books include The Elements of Style, an iconic writing guide that’s stood the test of time since it’s publication in 1920; Republic, Plato’s renowned Socratic dialogue, offering profound insights into philosophy; and Biology by Neil Campbell, which provides a comprehensive understanding of the natural world. Let’s delve deeper into the intellectual richness of these works and their significance within Harvard’s academic landscape.

What Books Do They Read in Harvard?

When it comes to the literary choices made by the students and scholars at Harvard University, it’s intriguing to delve into the depths of their reading lists. While the expanse of this venerable institutions curriculum covers a wide array of subjects, some notable titles have been observed to stand out. Among the extensive compilation of data collected from countless texts from universities all across the United States, it comes as no surprise that the top three titles at Harvard are classic works that lay the foundations for knowledge in their respective fields.

The first title that reigns supreme is “The Elements of Style.”. Originally published in 1920, this writing style guide has become a staple in the world of English literature. Authored by William Strunk Jr. and later revised by E.B. White, it acts as a timeless manual, offering guidance on grammar, composition, and overall writing principles. It’s presence on the shelves of Harvard students speaks volumes about their commitment to honing their language skills and perfecting their craft.

Next on the list is Platos renowned Socratic dialogue, “Republic.”. This seminal work of philosophy has captivated the minds of countless scholars over centuries. As one of the foundational texts in political philosophy, it explores the nature of justice, governance, and the ideal state. It’s inclusion in Harvards reading repertoire signifies the universitys dedication to fostering intellectual discussions and encouraging critical thinking.

Finally, occupying a prominent place among the most read books at Harvard is “Biology” by Neil Campbell. This comprehensive and widely acclaimed textbook serves as an indispensable tool for students and researchers alike. Covering the essentials of biological sciences, it provides a profound understanding of the intricacies of life on Earth. It’s popularity among Harvard students reflects their enthusiasm for scientific inquiry and their commitment to expanding their knowledge within this crucial field.

Located in the heart of Cambridge, Harvard Book Store has been a beloved destination for book enthusiasts since 193As an independently owned and operated bookstore, it stands out with it’s vast selection of new, used, and discounted books. Not only is it known for it’s impressive collection, but it also hosts acclaimed author events and has a rich history of pioneering in the industry.

Does Harvard Have Book Stores?

Harvard Book Store is a unique and special place to shop—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge landmark since 193Known for an extraordinary selection of new, used, and remaindered books, an award-winning author event series, and a history of innovation. The store occupies three stories of a building on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Plympton Street in Harvard Square, Cambridge. They’re well known for offering a wide range of titles across various genres, catering to both the academic and general reading community.

This iconic bookstore has been a part of the Harvard community for nearly a century. It’s become a gathering place for book lovers, students, and scholars alike. Whether youre searching for a rare first edition, a textbook for class, or the latest bestseller, Harvard Book Store is sure to have it. Their knowledgeable staff is always on hand to assist with finding specific titles or recommending new reads.

In addition to their impressive book collection, Harvard Book Store hosts a renowned author event series. This program brings in acclaimed authors from around the world to give readings and engage in discussions with the audience. It’s a fantastic opportunity for book enthusiasts to meet their favorite writers, hear them speak about their work, and even get their books signed.

Harvard Book Store also embraces innovation. In recent years, they’ve expanded their offerings to include e-books and audiobooks, ensuring that customers can access literature in various formats. They’ve also launched an online store, providing customers with the convenience of shopping for their favorite books from the comfort of their own homes.

John Harvard’s generous donation in 1638 included not only his personal library of 329 titles, comprising a total of 400 volumes, but also half of his estate worth £779. This remarkable gift held substantial monetary value, equivalent to the annual tax receipts of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at the time. Such a donation was a significant contribution to the establishment and growth of what’s now widely known as Harvard University.

How Many Books Did John Harvard Donate?

In the year 1638, the renowned John Harvard, a man of great intellectual prowess and philanthropic spirit, bestowed upon the New College in Cambridge, Massachusetts a remarkable donation. This generous act of benevolence involved the bequeathing of his personal library, comprised of an impressive collection of 329 titles. A closer examination revealed that this library encompassed a stunning total of 400 volumes, a treasure trove of knowledge that exuded wisdom and intellectual curiosity.

However, John Harvards contribution didn’t end there. Alongside his invaluable library donation, he also bequeathed half of his estate, amounting to a substantial sum of £77In a remarkable display of selflessness, this monetary gift equated to the entirety of the Massachusetts Bay Colonys annual tax receipts at that time. Thus, it’s apparent that John Harvards contribution to furthering access to education went far beyond the realm of literature alone.

This momentous act of charitable giving by John Harvard had far-reaching implications for the New College. The addition of such an extensive library not only enriched the academic landscape of the institution but also paved the way for a legacy of intellectual growth and discovery. Students and scholars alike now had access to an array of diverse and thought-provoking works, fostering an environment that nurtured critical thinking and the advancement of knowledge.


In conclusion, the Harvard Hum 10 reading list serves as an invaluable resource for students to engage with a diverse range of literary, philosophical, and historical texts. Covering a vast array of topics and time periods, these readings provide students with the opportunity to critically analyze and interpret complex ideas, fostering a deeper understanding of the human condition. From ancient epics to modern classics, this curated list highlights the importance of interdisciplinary study and encourages students to broaden their perspectives, challenge their assumptions, and confront the complexities of the world. Through the exploration of these texts, students aren’t only equipped with the tools of analysis and critical thinking, but also gain a profound appreciation for the richness and complexity of human experience.

Scroll to Top