Born in the Soviet Union in 1963, chess master Garry Kasparov became the youngest ever World Chess Champion by the age of 22. Up until his 2005 retirement, he was the world’s highest-rated player for 255 months over the course of his career, beating all other previous and current chess records. In a watershed moment for tech, Kasparov’s 1997 defeat against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue ushered in a new era of AI: a machine could best humanity’s reigning champ at our most cerebral game.

In addition to his grandmaster status, Kasparov is a lifelong political activist and prolific writer – authoring books not only on chess history and personal strategy, but exploring artificial intelligence and Russia’s descent into dictatorship as well. A recommended reading list included on his website covers similar themes, from Churchill’s accounts of World War 1 to the social thought phenomenon Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Dive into Garry Kasparov’s book recommendations below, and for a deeper look at his game-winning instincts and philosophies, check out his Masterclass on the art of chess.


The Red Notice by Bill Browder

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston S. Churchill

Chess Fundamentals by José Raul Capablanca

Zurich International Chess Tournament, 1953 by David Bronstein

Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia? by Karen Dawisha

The World Crisis, 1911 – 1918 by Winston S. Churchill

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers by James C. Humes

Lasker’s Manual of Chess by Emanuel Lasker

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

Memoirs by Andrei D. Sakharov

When the Facts Change: Essays, 1995-2010 by Tony Judt

Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln by Richard Brookhiser

Race Against the Machine by Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks and What To Do About It by Ian Goldin & Mike Mariathasan

Evolving Ourselves: How Unnatural Selection and Nonrandom Mutation are Changing Life on Earth by Juan Enriquez & Steve Gullans

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

(via Garry Kasparov)

Categories: Activists Writers