5 Books That Made A Difference to David Duchovny

The sexy bad boy of Californication —Agent Mulder, to X-Files fans—enjoys brilliant essays and American authors with provocative conspiracy theories.
Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson

410 pages; Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
David Duchovny calls Emerson the American Nietzsche. "I think he's kind of underrated as a philosopher." His essays provide a counterbalance to today's shrill public discourse. Also, they fit into a busy schedule. "Emerson's Collected Works is what I would call a bathroom book, because he writes aphoristically and you can sit down for your couple of minutes and pick it up anywhere. He says the same thing a thousand times from different angles, and one is going to resonate with you." Duchovny's favorite? "'Self-Reliance' is the only self-help essay one ever needs to read."
— As told to Karen Holt