Monday, May 16, 2016

10 Books that Changed My Life

Below are ten books that came at the right moment in my life.  They aren’t necessarily the most entertaining books, but they are the ones that significantly moved me to productive action and positive change.

The Bible and the The Book of Mormon. These have worked so well together in my life that I have listed them as one.  I read the Book of Mormon for the first time in ninth grade.  My home life was troubled, and so was I.  I give the influence of The Book of Mormon credit for getting me through high school and keeping me free from alcohol, drugs, and girls that do. 

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.  For some reason, it wasn’t until I started my LDS (Mormon) mission in South America that I understood that I actually had free will.  This little book gave me that first glimpse that I could act rather than be acted upon.  
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig.  This book puts rationality on the surgeon’s table.  It released me from taking a purely analytical approach to life, things, and people, and opened me up to intuition, feelings, and creativity.  Now, when someone asks in surprise “How did you know that?” I say, “Just my masculine intuition.”

Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. A friend received this for Christmas and was making fun of the title, so I asked if I could have the book.  The main concept of the book is to do what you love for your career.  I was not fulfilled in Corporate America (see my book How I Became Perfect), so I worked on a self-directed M.A. at Goddard College (Vermont), and radically changed my career. 

The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter and The Screenwriter’s Bible by Yours Truly.  I list these two together because the one helped me self-publish the first edition of the other, and the other became the basis for a new career as a teacher and writing coach.

Winning Through Intimidation by Robert Ringer.  The title is misleading; it’s not about intimidation, but working from a position of strength.  It’s full of common sense for business. The “3 Types of People Theory” led to the formation of a business philosophy that has been with me for over 30 years: Be as wise as a serpent (not na├»ve or unaware), but as harmless as a dove (intend good to all)

The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey and The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck.  Hasn’t everyone read these books?  Though very different, both helped me better understand and apply principles I already believed to be true.

The Twelve Steps: A Spiritual Journey published by RPI Publishing.  I was getting along in years and was unmarried, so I began a year-long spiritual odyssey with the premise that if anyone needed to change it was me and that my only hope was the atonement and grace of Jesus Christ.  So I applied the Twelve Steps, discovered the deep emotional issues, and experienced miracles.  I am now married with two kids.  Voila!

Unstuck by Robert Reynolds.  I just finished this, but it’s helping me put everything in its proper perspective and ushering me into another spiritual odyssey.

I could list ten more; it was difficult picking only ten. We all have books that have influenced us for good at the right time. I wonder what your ten are.  Keep reading good books, keep applying them, and keep living.