The Noam Chomsky Reading List
rss icon
facebook icon
twitter icon


The Noam Chomsky Reading List was inspired by the usefulness of Chomsky's sources. Noam tends to have read the best works in all kinds of areas of study that I and others find deeply interesting. By creating a database of his references, I hope to make it easier for everyone to have access to these sources.

I can be contacted here: webmaster [@]

This website was produced by David Thomson, a Scottish political activist and long-standing reader of Chomsky's work.

How the top 100 list was created

  • Select all books excluding any Chomsky has written
  • Find total references to each book from all of Chomsky's books (see references list)
  • Find author for each book
  • Get author score (the number of the author's books referenced by Chomsky, see authors list)
  • Find how many of chomsky's books the book in question has appeared in (see multiple books list)
  • Only include top scoring book for each author. Each author gets one book on the list.

Total_score = reference_score + (6 x bibliographic_score) + (6 x author_score)


Bernard Fall, Last Reflections on War
Total_score = reference_score + (6 x bibliographic_score) + (6 x author_score)
Total_score= 8 + (6 x 7) + (6 x 3) = 68

Marx, Capital v1
Total_score = reference_score + (6 x bibliographic_score) + (6 x author_score)
Total_score= 4 + (6 x 2) + (6 x 8) = 62

Broue, Revolution and Civil War in Spain
Total_score = reference_score + (6 x bibliographic_score) + (6 x author_score)
Total_score= 13 + (6 x 1) + (6 x 1) = 25

You can see that the third book has the lowest score even though it has the highest number of references. However, the other two books were referenced in more than one book by Chomsky and their author has a higher score, as more of his works are referenced by Chomsky. Therefore, these other two books have overall higher scores and rank higher on the Top 100 list. But as you can see with the first two, the total references still make a difference to the ranking.

This was done to make one very interesting and useful list that more people can enjoy. The other lists are available for those that want more detail and want to view the data from a different perspective. The real strength of the site, for many users, will be in the categories section.

How those particular works by Chomsky were chosen as sources

Initially, I began by using every Chomsky book I had, which was a lot of books. But I was careful to reduce duplication, as many books of essays contain the same essays and therefore duplicate references. Later, I used a full biography of Chomsky's political works to try and ensure that there was some kind of balance over the decades, trying to ensure that works from every era were included. I also used my knowledge of Chomsky's oeuvre to include most of the classics. I found "hidden" classics during the process of creating the lists; for example, of all his books Chomsky references Deterring Democracy the most, so I made sure to include this work. Some were chosen to ensure that particular, relevant topics were covered, such as anarchism or the Middle East. There are still at least two or three others I'd like to include when I have free time: Fateful Triangle, New Mandarins, and Understanding Power. There are more modern works than older ones, because I suspect the modern sources will be of more use / interest to readers, so I concentrated my efforts there. The plan is to eventually include all of Chomsky's political publications.