With his commanding presence and impressive range, Brian Cox is a force to be reckoned with in the world of acting. Born in Dundee, Scotland in 1946, he honed his craft at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before making his way to London’s West End. There, he quickly established himself as a versatile actor with a talent for inhabiting complex characters.

Cox’s breakout role came in 1986, when he played the lead in Michael Mann’s crime thriller Manhunter. He went on to appear in a series of notable films, including Braveheart and The Bourne Identity. But it is his portrayal of the patriarch Logan Roy in the HBO series Succession that has cemented his status as one of the most respected actors of his generation. As Logan, Cox exudes both power and vulnerability, commanding the screen with his gravelly voice and piercing gaze.

Beyond his acting work, Cox is also an accomplished stage actor, having performed in productions of plays by Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Tennessee Williams, among others. He’s received numerous accolades over a storied career, including an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Laurence Olivier Award.

In a list of his all-time favorite books for The Week, Cox revealed a penchant for works on mysticism, psychotherapy, and the meaning of life. From Viktor Frankl’s groundbreaking theory of logotherapy to Emily Brontë’s masterpiece on love and obsession, explore his reading list below. Then, dive into the book recommendations of other famous actors right here.

Brian Cox’s Reading List

In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching by P.D. Ouspensky

“The story of George Gurdjieff, a Greek-Armenian philosopher and mystic, and his search for consciousness. It’s a very good introduction for anybody who is interested in esotericism and the esoteric nature of life.” -BC

Meetings with Remarkable Men by George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (also rec’d by Steve Jobs)

“Gurdjieff’s own book about his wanderings. He formed his teachings around the series of people he met. It’s kind of a classic road book—and wonderful.” -BC

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (also rec’d by Drew Barrymore)

“This book traces the beginnings of Frankl’s theory of logotherapy, an approach to psychotherapy drawn from his experiences as a concentration-camp inmate. Frankl was interested in why certain people survived the Holocaust emotionally and others didn’t. Out of this horrific incident Frankl wrote a totally groundbreaking book that’s been constantly republished for 40 or 50 years.” -BC

The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart (also rec’d by Leonard Cohen, Richard Branson & Richey Edwards)

“Published in 1971, this novel about a psychiatrist who makes decisions by rolling dice is very much a book about the ’60s, about luck and fortune and the arbitrary nature of life. Psychologist George Cockcroft wrote The Dice Man under the pen name Luke Rhinehart. It is entertaining, thrilling, and very funny.” -BC

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (also rec’d by Ernest HemingwayJoan DidionPatti Smith & Stevie Nicks)

“One of the great stories. The quintessential obsessive love story. Truly amazing.” -BC

David Lean: A Biography by Kevin Brownlow

“This is one of the best biographies of a filmmaker I’ve read. It shows brilliantly David Lean’s metamorphosis from editor to director over a period of years, and the contrast between his days in the editing suite and those he spent shooting Lawrence of Arabia in the vast open desert of Morocco. If you want to understand anything about film, I highly recommend this great, tremendously enjoyable book.” -BC

(via The Week; photo by Andrew Crowley)

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Categories: Actors