Books with a direct impact on your life?

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Barefootgirl
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Books with a direct impact on your life?

Post by Barefootgirl »

I am curious to know what books have had a direct impact on your life - not your favorite books or the best books, rather the books that changed the way you think/behave (could be negatively or positively)

My own in no particular order (spanning a lifetime of reading) :

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers - R. Sapolsky
Limbo - A. Lubrano
Common Sense on Mutual Funds - Bogle
Our Bodies, Ourselves - Womens Health Collective
The Bible
The Middle Passage - James Hollis
The Odyssey - Homer
New You - Sol Gordon
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Your Money or Your Life - Dominguez/Robin
The Captain's Versus - P. Neruda
8 Weeks to Optimum Health - A. Weil
Fear of Flying - E. Jong
The Atkins Revolution - R. Atkins
Managerial Accounting - ?
Modern Man in Search of a Soul - Jung
The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings - T. Hanh
The Intelligent Asset Allocator - W. Bernstein
The Coffee House Investor - B. Schultheis

Obviously, I am behind in the finance/investment category.

BF
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Barefootgirl
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Post by Barefootgirl »

Two glaring omissions:

Atlas Shrugged - Rand
One up on Wall Street - Lynch

BF
perries
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Post by perries »

That's not an easy question to fully answer on the spot, but one book comes immediately to mind that had a very direct impact on our thoughts and actions:

The Coming Crash in the Housing Market, John Talbott (2003)
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norookie
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Post by norookie »

:? @ the moment i'm reading 'Don't count on it'. I like the way its written.
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tyrion
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Post by tyrion »

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason.

Wonderful book, despite the sometimes clunky delivery and language.

It should be required reading for high school kids.
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Post by Silence Dogood »

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John C. Bogle

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell
Last edited by Silence Dogood on Thu May 05, 2011 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DarinFred
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My List

Post by DarinFred »

Atlas Shrugged
The Constitution
The Power of One
Once an Eagle
Lords of Discipline
The Stand

All have had a profound impact on my world view.
scouter
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Post by scouter »

The Bible

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson (I think this one should be required reading for High School)

anything by Jack Bogle or the Bogleheads
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Post by FrugalInvestor »

To Kill a Mockingbird
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify, but most importantly....Ignore the Noise!
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bob90245
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Re: Books with a direct impact on your life?

Post by bob90245 »

Re: Books with a direct impact on your [investing] life?

A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel
Ignore the market noise. Keep to your rebalancing schedule whether that is semi-annual, annual or trigger bands.
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Post by marie17 »

Atlas Shrugged -- Although I don't think the ideas in this book can be applied to a society as a whole (I am much more empathetic that no...people really are NOT born on a level playing field) they are wonderful ideas to model your own life by - I don't push personal responsibility on anyone else but myself - and this book is a big part about what I think I should do in my life.

SlaughterHouse 5 - Vonnegut. Really just love this book, I re-read it yearly. War is awful, and so it goes.

Edited to add: I forgot about both In Defense of Food and The Omnivores Dilemma. Both have powerfully impacted the way I eat.
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Post by rustymutt »

The bible.
Then Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.
to many other books to list, but these two have had profound effects on me.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
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Post by mptfan »

Your Money or Your Life.
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Post by rec7 »

The Bible
Stop Acting Rich: ...And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire
The Millionaire Next Door
The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy
Last edited by rec7 on Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by gkaplan »

Diary of Anne Frank
Gordon
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Post by sschullo »

Boxcar Children at age 10, everything else was just frosting. Nothing political, ideological, religious, just a few kids trying to live independently without grownups. Wow! That was what I wanted at 10 years old and still want. :)
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Post by snyder66 »

The Catcher in the Rye.
In Defense of Food: Currently working on that impact, but trying.
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Post by travelnut11 »

sschullo wrote:Boxcar Children at age 10, everything else was just frosting. Nothing political, ideological, religious, just a few kids trying to live independently without grownups. Wow! That was what I wanted at 10 years old and still want. :)
+1 I loved that book and read it at the exact same age.
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Re: My List

Post by V572625694 »

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
DarinFred wrote:The Constitution
Do you mean the US Constitution? Wonderful document indeed, but not book length, which is also part of its power.
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Post by Pandora »

Who moved my cheese? - A very good, 45 min read about accepting change in one's life.
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Post by hsv_climber »

No Black Swan yet...
Is Victoria asleep?
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Post by Raybo »

Four that had an impact:

The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant
Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker
Bhagavad Gita by ?
Collapse by Jared Diamond

Ray
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Post by VictoriaF »

"The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Victoria
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Post by greenspam »

"War and Peace".
(my mom used to hit me with it).
:)

note: i deserved it.
:oops:
as always, | peace, | greenie.
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Post by Bulldawg »

The Bible

Your Natural Gifts

The Bogleheads Guide

The Millionaire Next Door

The Pathfinder

With No Fear of Failure

The Case for Christ

The Screwtape Letters

The Wealthy Barber
" IN GOD WE TRUST " ( official motto of the United States )
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Post by leonard »

The Yellow Pages. I hate it when they throw that by my front door. As bad as littering.
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Post by Rick_J- »

mptfan wrote:Your Money or Your Life.
I agree I read this 10 years and it has had a tremendous impact on my networth because it helped to conceptualize money as my life energy.

Recently I read 168 hours by Laura Vanderkam and it has (much like your money or your life) caused me to spend my time consciously and make sure I get good value for the time I have on this planet.

Of all the investing books I have read I found that the Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein increased my investing knowledge most.
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Post by burt »

The Grapes of Wrath
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Post by Fallible »

Everything by John Bogle and Will Shakespeare. After that, there are really too many to list, but I have to mention the "Peanuts" cartoon books.
:D
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Post by Peter Foley »

Fiction applied to life
1984
Don Quijote
100 Years of Solitude
Investing and retirement
The Only Investment Guide You Will Ever Need
Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes
The Bogleheads Guide to Investing
What Color is your Parachute in Retirement
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Post by Howard Donnelly »

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill
Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling, by Frank Bettger
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Worldwide Laws of Life, by John Templeton
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, by John Bogle
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Post by rustymutt »

Bulldawg wrote:The Bible

Your Natural Gifts

The Bogleheads Guide

The Millionaire Next Door

The Pathfinder

With No Fear of Failure

The Case for Christ

The Screwtape Letters

The Wealthy Barber
I enjoyed the Screwtape letter myself.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
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Post by rustymutt »

leonard wrote:The Yellow Pages. I hate it when they throw that by my front door. As bad as littering.
At least it's the real yellow pages.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
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Re: Books with a direct impact on your life?

Post by nisiprius »

As I survey these, the common element is that I happened to encounter each of them by happy chance at the exact moment when I was just exactly ready for it. And all of them had an element of discovery and challenge to them.

Stars, by Herbert S. Zim (a Little Golden Nature Guide, still in print).

A little pocket handbook: F. J. Camm, "Mathematical Tables and Formulae"

"The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam," as translated or interpreted or re-created by Edward FitzGerald.

Cosmic View: The Universe in Forty Jumps by Kees Boeke, which inspired Powers of Ten by the Office of Charles and Ray Eames.

Peter Graves and The Twenty-One Balloons, by William Pene du Bois.

The picture on the frontispiece of an out-of-date set of The Book of Knowledge in the elementary-school library, a bunch of train tracks radiating out--from the Earth, showing how look it would take to travel by train to the moon, the sun, each planet, and the nearest star.

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, by Eleanor Cameron (quit snickering, it was a kids book and it was published in 1954, long before psilocybin).

The first few books of the "Rick Brant Electronic Adventures" series: The Rocket's Shadow, The Lost City, Sea Gold, and The Whispering Box Mystery.

On Being the Right Size, by J. B. S. Haldane

That Hideous Strength, by C. S. Lewis (and I am deliberately juxtaposing him with J. B. S. Haldane, because they could hardly have been more opposite).

McGuffey's New Fourth Eclectic Reader--dad bought a battered copy from a second-hand bookstore out of curiosity to see how my reading ability matched up with what had been expected a century earlier, and I read it from cover to cover and I think it had some rather unintended effects.

The Time Machine, by H. G. Wells; also some of his short stories, notably "The New Accelerator."

Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott.

The book of Ecclesiastes, traditionally attributed to King Solomon

Heaven's My Destination, by Thornton Wilder.

The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Studs Lonigan, by James T. Farrell.

New Numbers by F. E. Andrews.

A collection: "Jack London's Stories for Boys." And later, The Sea-Wolf and Martin Eden.

A couple of pages in some unabridged-dictionary-like science enclopedia--can't remember if it was Van Nostrand or McGraw Hill--that contained a big summary table of units and dimensions, and I looked at it and boing! I got it.

Some purple dittoed set of notes a math teacher gave me from some course she'd taken that explained barycentric coordinates and the rudiments of linear algebra.

Scientific American in the Gerard Piel era, most particularly Martin Gardner's Mathematical Games column and C. L. Stong's Amateur Scientist column. Oh, and the Carl and Jerry stories in Popular Electronics.

Complete Plays and Complete Prefaces of George Bernard Shaw. No, I haven't read them all--maybe 1/5th if that--but I certainly dipped in here and there.

The Family of Man, the book based on the exhibit of photographs curated or whatever you call it by Edward Steichen.

Physiological Optics, by Herrmann von Helmholtz as translated and extensively revised by James P. C. Southall.

The People, Yes by Carl Sandburg.

On Growth and Form, by D'arcy Thompson

The Curve of Binding Energy, by John McPhee.

The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, by Andrew Tobias (circa the 1970s)

A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton Malkiel (circa the 1980s)

Whoops, almost forgot: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex* by Dr. David Reuben.

*But were afraid to ask. By the way, how many people realize that the bus poster in "Sex and the City" is riffing off Reuben's book's title and jacket design?
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Post by retcaveman »

Walden - Henry David Thoreau

Demian - Herman Hess
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Post by RenoJay »

Common Sense on Investing - Bogle
Negotiate to Close - Karass
One Minute Manager - what's his face
Stocks for the Long Run - Seigle
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Post by letsgobobby »

rustymutt wrote:The bible.
Then Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.
to many other books to list, but these two have had profound effects on me.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Four Pillars of Investing

The Road

Cadillac Desert

Lord of the Flies

Manias, Panics, and Crashes
Last edited by letsgobobby on Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by theresa »

Walden
Your Money or Your Life
1984
Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need
The Philosopher's Diet
My Dinner With Andre(screenplay)
Mr. Gatti
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Post by Mr. Gatti »

Bible

The Millionaire Next Door

The Purpose-Driven Life
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Post by Sidney »

Catch-22.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Post by PaddyMac »

"Your Eroneous Zones" - changed my life when I was a teenager.
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Post by frugalhen »

The bible
More than a carpenter- Josh McDowell
The road less traveled - m Scott peck
The millionaire next door
The purpose driven life
Catcher in the rye
The road to serfdom
"get out and live, you are dead an awfully long time" - Jimmy Demaret
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Post by DeGrief »

When I consider many of the books that have stuck with the me the most--in recent years:

--Blood Meridian (or the Evening Redness in the West)
--Catch-22
--Atonement

--as much as I love them, it isn't really clear to me how they have changed the way I think or live.

In retrospect, I think reading The Grapes of Wrath as an undergraduate changed me. More recently, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil I think has changed me.

But the two works that I think probably changed my life the most, again as an undergraduate, are not books:

--Zeno's Paradoxes (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paradox-zeno/)

--"Famine, Affluence, and Morality" (http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/1972----.htm)
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Post by dandetour »

"Unintended Consequences" by John Ross.
Dan
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Post by C319 »

"Relativity: The Special and the General Theory" by Albert Einstein, and "Treatise on Thermodynamics" by Max Planck.

I read these during summer vacation when I was around 11 years old. Successfully slogging through these books taught me that I really could understand any subject if I studied hard enough. As a result my science classes seemed simple and I began to understand the value of self-development and extracurricular reading as tools for personal growth. Being able to connect those intellectual dots at a young age made a huge impact on my life.
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Post by verygoodthings »

The Number (Lee Eisenberg)

Stop Acting Rich and Start Acting like a Real Millionaire (Stanley)

Enough (Bogle)
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Post by Bulldawg »

rustymutt wrote:
Bulldawg wrote:The Bible

Your Natural Gifts

The Bogleheads Guide

The Millionaire Next Door

The Pathfinder

With No Fear of Failure

The Case for Christ

The Screwtape Letters

The Wealthy Barber
I enjoyed the Screwtape letter myself.
there are many books by C.S. Lewis and his friend/colleague J.R.R. Tolkien that have impacted me
" IN GOD WE TRUST " ( official motto of the United States )
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Post by wesgreen »

Touch The Earth - McLuhan (a selfportrait of Native American life, mostly from the 19th century)

And Then There Was Light - Jacques Lusseyran
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Post by trentwebb »

Atlas Shrugged
The Fountainhead
The Four Pillars of Investing
The Law by Bastiat
The Terrible Truth about Liberals
Lost Rights-Bovard
Random Walk Down Wall Street
Once an Eagle
Fools Die
Free to Choose
Eat the Rich
We Were Soldiers Once and Young
Lords of Discipline
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Post by grabiner »

This was a question on some of my college application essays: list four or five books which have had the greatest impact on your life, and briefly discuss one of them.

The book I chose to discuss was Calculus, by Michael Spivak. It is a book which covers first-year calculus, but with the rigor of an advanced mathematics book and a lot of supplementary material. This was the first mathematics textbook I used which gave me a real appreciation of what mathematics was like. (The text is occasionally used for an honors calculus class, either in high schools, or as a college class for students who already had calculus in high school.)

Years later, I am still a mathematician, and I just bought the new edition, which sits on my bookshelf at work; I have referred to my old copy so many times that it is falling apart.
Wiki David Grabiner
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