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The House of Cards Book Club

We are passionate readers who love nothing more than discovering fantastic books and sharing them with friends. We recommend books that move us to laughter and tears—and everything in between. Trust us when we say, "You've got to read this!"

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying Frank and Claire Underwood are already two of contemporary television’s most iconic characters. Now that you’ve binge-watched House of Cards’ entire third season in a glassy-eyed, Cheetos-fueled haze, the prospect of an entire year without the Underwoods’ unchecked ambition sounds dreadfully dull. In the spirit of a thoughtful second-screen experience, here’s a House of Cards–inspired reading list to hold you over until next season.


The Art of War
by Sun Tzu

One of the world’s oldest pieces of literature, The Art of War is still read today by legal, strategic, and military professionals. Ignore it at your peril.

“Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” —Sun Tzu

“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.” —Frank Underwood

The Art of War
Sun Tzu

One of the world’s oldest pieces of literature, The Art of War is still read today by legal, strategic, and military professionals. Ignore it at your peril.

“Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” —Sun Tzu

“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.” —Frank Underwood

MENTIONED IN:

The House of Cards Book Club

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 5, 2015

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The Prince
by Nicolo Machiavelli

One of the first works of modern political philosophy, The Prince advocates the use of immoral means to achieve the aims of the ruler. A short book, it is also the work from which the infamous term “Machiavellian” is derived and, in some circles, gleefully cited. “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” —Niccolò Machiavelli “Shake with your right hand, but hold a rock with your left.” —Frank Underwood

The Prince
Nicolo Machiavelli

One of the first works of modern political philosophy, The Prince advocates the use of immoral means to achieve the aims of the ruler. A short book, it is also the work from which the infamous term “Machiavellian” is derived and, in some circles, gleefully cited. “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” —Niccolò Machiavelli “Shake with your right hand, but hold a rock with your left.” —Frank Underwood

MENTIONED IN:

The House of Cards Book Club

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 5, 2015

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Macbeth
by William Shakspeare

“The Scottish play,” as superstitious folks will say, is a powerful meditation on ambition, ambivalence, and self-destruction.

“Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!” —Macbeth

“I’ve always loathed the necessity of sleep. Like death, it puts even the most powerful men on their backs.” —Frank Underwood

Macbeth
William Shakspeare

“The Scottish play,” as superstitious folks will say, is a powerful meditation on ambition, ambivalence, and self-destruction.

“Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!” —Macbeth

“I’ve always loathed the necessity of sleep. Like death, it puts even the most powerful men on their backs.” —Frank Underwood

MENTIONED IN:

The House of Cards Book Club

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 5, 2015

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How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie

A primer on everything the title promises, in this book Dale Carnegie even offers a few suggestions on how to avoid the pitfalls in these practices.

“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.” —Dale Carnegie

“Friends make the worst enemies.” —Frank Underwood

How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie

A primer on everything the title promises, in this book Dale Carnegie even offers a few suggestions on how to avoid the pitfalls in these practices.

“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.” —Dale Carnegie

“Friends make the worst enemies.” —Frank Underwood

MENTIONED IN:

The House of Cards Book Club

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 5, 2015

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Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged questions every assumption at the root of your convictions. A philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, its tremendous scope presents an astounding panorama of human life.

“In this world, either you're virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both, lady, not both.” —Ayn Rand

“I envy your free spirit, and I'm attracted to it, but not all of us have that luxury.” —Claire Underwood

Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged questions every assumption at the root of your convictions. A philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, its tremendous scope presents an astounding panorama of human life.

“In this world, either you're virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both, lady, not both.” —Ayn Rand

“I envy your free spirit, and I'm attracted to it, but not all of us have that luxury.” —Claire Underwood

MENTIONED IN:

The House of Cards Book Club

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 5, 2015

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Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only Thomas Cromwell dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. Wolf Hall re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

“At New Year’s he had given Anne a present of silver forks. . . . He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.” —Hilary Mantel

Claire: “What should we server the Walkers?”
Frank: “Cyanide.”
Claire: “I’m saving that for dessert. . . .”

Wolf Hall
Hilary Mantel

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only Thomas Cromwell dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. Wolf Hall re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

“At New Year’s he had given Anne a present of silver forks. . . . He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.” —Hilary Mantel

Claire: “What should we server the Walkers?”
Frank: “Cyanide.”
Claire: “I’m saving that for dessert. . . .”

MENTIONED IN:

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The House of Cards Book Club

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 5, 2015

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