So a few people have said that books chosen can't possibly be ordered and that it's pure opinion which ones are better and better for my purpose than others. Given that any set of objects can be placed in order by means of an ordering function, below is my proposed ordering function. Any set of books that appropriately maximizes or minimizes these criteria compared to any other set of books will be most preferred.
- Readability to a broader audience though this won't be the general public. This is intended to avoid problems like Principia that's basically unreadable to someone who wasn't a personal friend of Newton's (okay, I'm probably exaggerating but you get the idea).
- Breadth of Coverage across all three books.
- Content of each book should be strongly connected to the other two. There will be differences in terminology that arise as concepts not described in the books are rediscovered by the future scientists (they will come up with different names for things) . Having one book lead to another minimizes this kind of problem.
- First, or first clearest expository of a foundational idea/concept/system for that field. (Principia is first but someone else wrote a clearer explanation later. Thus, the latter work is preferred over Principia. )
- Recognizable to someone in that field, at the target entry time, that the material in the book is about that field. (someone working with the newly rediscovered Maxwell's equations isn't going to be able to jump to semiconductors or fiber optics. Well, I'm guessing they won't be able to.)
- Corrects misinformation or model failures in knowledge in this field at the target entry time. (Pick your favorite "I can't believe the early people got that wrong" moment. Fixing those moments is important and the primary hope of these books. )
So my question is: with the above constraints on the books possible for the Three Books questions, would the questions be sufficiently narrow and not opinion-based?