Which books had the biggest impact on your life?

Jack

P4P Star
Jul 29, 2012
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I was watching a few Christopher Hitchens videos earlier on and it made me think of the impact that 'God Is Not Great' had on me when I first read it. Not only is it a very well written book but Hitchens attacked subjects which I'd always seen as being untouchable, something I thought was brave but he made excellent arguments. I was agnostic before reading that book anyway, but it changed my thoughts on quite a bit and certainly made me a fan of Hitchens himself.

'A Guide To The Good Life', 'Unforgivable Blackness', 'Jupiter's Travels' and 'Greek Myths' by Robert Graves would be up there too.
 
Jul 29, 2012
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I can't think of any that had real major impacts on my life. I guess in more recent years The Righteous Mind had the most profound impact on how I think about topics that people argue over.
 
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May 17, 2013
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Easily the text I had to read and study to pass the Captain's test when I was working on the local fire department. There was well over 3000 pages of material on the study guide sheet. I poured over those books and manuals for over 4 months almost religiously to prepare for the exam. Guess it worked out well since out of the 200 or so that took the test I passed 33 on the written and jumped to #10 after the oral portion and got promoted the first go-around.

As for reading for pleasure, I really don't do much of that to be honest, but when I do it is usually true crime novels for the most part although I have read some books after seeing the movie, like "The Exorcist", " The Boston Strangler", "Helter Skelter", "In Cold Blood", etc.

I'm really not much into fantasy books or futuristic stuff.
 
May 21, 2013
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these books essentially turned me into an adult.


7 habits of highly effective people - stephen covey
basic economics - thomas sowell
atlas shrugged - ayn rand
too soon old, too late smart - gordon livingstone
rich dad poor dad - robert kiyosaki
 
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Squire

Let's Go Champ
May 17, 2013
6,038
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Morpeth, Northumberland


I read this when I was about 17 or 18 and at the time didn't think much about politics but had the vague notion the left were the good guys. This book dispelled that myth. Clearly the book hasn't affected anyone else because since it was written in 2007 the liberal left have gone further and further and not only left the normal working guy behind but have actively vilified him for the crime of being white and male. After reading this book I started identifying as a moderate rather than a lefty

I read The God Delusion and God is not Great at about the same time, and became that obnoxious fedora wearing (not literally) atheist. Less so after a few years, nowadays I think a lot of people fill the void of organised religion with extreme political views, both left and right.
 
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Bob Weaver

The original and best
Jul 6, 2019
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A very good question, and one that is difficult for me to answer.

Reading in general shaped my life. I've always been a big reader from a young age, and I think that gave me a real edge at school, uni, work, etc.

I was the only white male in my year to go to uni. I was only the 2nd person in my family to go.

I think reading so much from an early age boosted my memory, comprehension, and vocabulary. This makes all subjects easier, and allows you to blag stuff when you haven't done the work.

I don't think I'm unique in this, but I was in my peer group at school, and even uni to a lesser degree.
 

Bob Weaver

The original and best
Jul 6, 2019
9,029
9,374
Individual books are harder to identify.

The book I've read more than any other is Pride and Prejudice. I would say I'm a romantic at heart, but I don't know if I like it because I'm a romantic, or if liking it helped shape me that way.

Lion of Macedon is an OK fantasy novel by David Gemmell, but it was the first fantasy book I read and it sparked a life long love of the genre, and in history and mythology.

The Dice Man. A book about a psychiatrist who makes all his decisions by rolling a dice. I didn't take all the ideas from this, (it doesn't end well for the character), but it did give me a certain freedom.

From being a shy teenager worried about what others thought of me, I realised I didn't have to care and could, up to a point, do as I pleased.

The main uptake from this was in my social life, I happily did stuff that may be seen as embarrassing, and was regularly slagged off, but just didn't care. I would wear daft clothes, get wasted and make a fool of myself and ask out girls who were way out of my league.

I would say this confidence/lack of care has faded with adult responsibility, but I can still remind myself of it, which is useful when my shy/introverted side rears it's head.


Trainspotting and all the hedonistic books of the 90's and early 2000's. Reading these fed into a hedonistic lifestyle I led from 16 - my mid to late 20's.

I'm sure I would have indulged anyway, but they were part of a party culture that existed in the UK at that time, and I bought into it.
 

Setanta

BAD MOTHERFUCKER
May 24, 2013
9,360
4,430
Emain Macha
On the origin of Species
Charles Darwin

The History of Western Philosophy
Bertrand Russell

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Thomas Kuhn

The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins

Guns, Germs and Steele
Jared Diamond

Ulysses
James Joyce

1984
George Orwell
 
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Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
34,560
9,213
Donny
A very good question, and one that is difficult for me to answer.

Reading in general shaped my life. I've always been a big reader from a young age, and I think that gave me a real edge at school, uni, work, etc.

I was the only white male in my year to go to uni. I was only the 2nd person in my family to go.

I think reading so much from an early age boosted my memory, comprehension, and vocabulary. This makes all subjects easier, and allows you to blag stuff when you haven't done the work.

I don't think I'm unique in this, but I was in my peer group at school, and even uni to a lesser degree.
Good Morning Roberto,

I'm the same as you. Reading is such a big part of my life. Especially boxing books and also, obviously, Boxing News each week. Also the first thing I do each morning is read the papers.

I too was fortunate to go to university three times. I did a first degree at University of Sheffield, Master's at King's College London and then my teaching certificate at York St John (the certificate came from University of Leeds). Obviously all of this involved ploughing through literature on a daily basis.

I remember doing my MA and having only one hour of lectures a week, but having to wade through so many words each day. Hellish. I thought I might fail that degree, fortunately I put the hours in and banged out a 12, 000 word thesis to get me through.

At the moment I have the Hector Camacho book on the go, Andy Lee's book, Michael Watson's book and Bertrand Russell's The History of Western Philosophy. I love Hector Camacho so much, shame it ended so badly.

I'm not that bothered for fiction, I'm more fact.
 
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Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
34,560
9,213
Donny
On the origin of Species
Charles Darwin

The History of Western Philosophy
Bertrand Russell

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Thomas Kuhn

The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins

Guns, Germs and Steele
Jared Diamond

Ulysses
James Joyce

1984
George Orwell
The Origin is a classic.

The History of Western Philosophy is absolutely essential - I got a hardcover copy of that for 99p from a second hand bookstore in Holmfirth.

1984 is a cracking book, so telling. Shows you how back then George told us what would happen today.
 

Setanta

BAD MOTHERFUCKER
May 24, 2013
9,360
4,430
Emain Macha
Good Morning Roberto,

I'm the same as you. Reading is such a big part of my life. Especially boxing books and also, obviously, Boxing News each week. Also the first thing I do each morning is read the papers.

I too was fortunate to go to university three times. I did a first degree at University of Sheffield, Master's at King's College London and then my teaching certificate at York St John (the certificate came from University of Leeds). Obviously all of this involved ploughing through literature on a daily basis.

I remember doing my MA and having only one hour of lectures a week, but having to wade through so many words each day. Hellish. I thought I might fail that degree, fortunately I put the hours in and banged out a 12, 000 word thesis to get me through.

At the moment I have the Hector Camacho book on the go, Andy Lee's book, Michael Watson's book and Bertrand Russell's The History of Western Philosophy. I love Hector Camacho so much, shame it ended so badly.

I'm not that bothered for fiction, I'm more fact.

What did you study for your Bachelors and Masters degrees ?
 
Reactions: Trail

Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
34,560
9,213
Donny
Individual books are harder to identify.

The book I've read more than any other is Pride and Prejudice. I would say I'm a romantic at heart, but I don't know if I like it because I'm a romantic, or if liking it helped shape me that way.

Lion of Macedon is an OK fantasy novel by David Gemmell, but it was the first fantasy book I read and it sparked a life long love of the genre, and in history and mythology.

The Dice Man. A book about a psychiatrist who makes all his decisions by rolling a dice. I didn't take all the ideas from this, (it doesn't end well for the character), but it did give me a certain freedom.

From being a shy teenager worried about what others thought of me, I realised I didn't have to care and could, up to a point, do as I pleased.

The main uptake from this was in my social life, I happily did stuff that may be seen as embarrassing, and was regularly slagged off, but just didn't care. I would wear daft clothes, get wasted and make a fool of myself and ask out girls who were way out of my league.

I would say this confidence/lack of care has faded with adult responsibility, but I can still remind myself of it, which is useful when my shy/introverted side rears it's head.


Trainspotting and all the hedonistic books of the 90's and early 2000's. Reading these fed into a hedonistic lifestyle I led from 16 - my mid to late 20's.

I'm sure I would have indulged anyway, but they were part of a party culture that existed in the UK at that time, and I bought into it.
I trust you've read The Catcher in the Rye. That is such a good book. JD Salinger pulled all the stops out there.
 
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Setanta

BAD MOTHERFUCKER
May 24, 2013
9,360
4,430
Emain Macha
The Origin is a classic.
And the story of how Darwin came to write it is pretty good too.


The History of Western Philosophy is absolutely essential - I got a hardcover copy of that for 99p from a second hand bookstore in Holmfirth.
Still the best primer on the subject 75 years later.

1984 is a cracking book, so telling. Shows you how back then George told us what would happen today.
A sharp dude, no doubt. I could have put ANIMAL FARM on my list as well.
Apparently, Stalin read it and got right pissed off. :smile
 
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Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
34,560
9,213
Donny
Without blowing my own trumpet (it's not my style) both University of Sheffield and King's London were top five for Philosophy when I was at both.

I applied for both Oxford and Cambridge for a doctorate. I was shit hot, but considering my Mum was a cook and my Dad a steelworker they wouldn't have me, I was far too working class. I'll f*cking get there in a couple of years. I have to get that Phd.