Someone once said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. That’s probably true. However, you can also probably judge a man by the books he reads and the company he keeps. I usually avoid posting anything simply because someone tagged me on Facebook. But given my love for books, well, I couldn’t help myself.
Let me go on the record by saying that, above all else, the Bible has had the largest life-changing effect on me. That Book is one that has comforted me in times of trouble, encouraged me in times of doubt, ensured where I will spend eternity, and been a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). That being said, I felt like it was important for you to know, but also cheating to put it on this list…anyway, let’s get to it. In no particular order…
1. The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Though I wouldn’t catch myself agreeing with everything in here (because that would make me a Ferriss-ee – see paragraph 2) this book completely changed the way that I work, the way I think about problems, and dramatically reduced my work stress and increased my productivity. I’m not a big fan of the language that is woven throughout the book in Ferriss’ writing style, but he does bring out some pretty awesome stuff about life-hacking, learning, and work. I think my favorite concept from this one is that Ferriss desires for more people to work to live as opposed to living to work.
2. How Shall We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer
Schaeffer takes readers throughout the history of art and music and teaches them to see the world through a Biblical worldview. This book made me see the seemingly secular world in a completely different way. He focuses on history and, therefore, the present. As you know, those who don’t learn their history are doomed to repeat it.
3. Redwall by Brian Jacques
This is the book that made me fall in love with reading. As I recall, my uncle gave this book to my mom for me to read. Between the ages of 8 and 10, Mom would lay beside my bed and read to me. When that pace became too slow and I couldn’t sleep without knowing what happened next, I took it upon myself to read ahead…and never really stopped. This book taught me that my imagination was limitless and sparked my creativity on a regular basis (a friend and I drew out entire plans for a video game based on the series).
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitsgerald
I just recently finished this book but it changed the way that I look at the American dream of anything being possible. I won’t give away what happens in the book but, suffice it to say, mankind is royally screwed up. Call it a guilty pleasure but it’s a classic, for sure. Definitely worth the time to pick up.
5. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Without question, the greatest book on strategy that I have ever read. This classic work is full of quips and sayings that are applicable to everyday life. I think about it on a regular basis when it comes to negotiations and employ the tactics often.
6. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This is definitely the book that I am most likely to give as a gift. See mystery through the eyes of a deranged detective and his faithful friend, Dr. Watson. What is the best thing I’ve taken from Sherlock? “When you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, is the truth.” Used hand-in-hand with my Dad’s philosophy of “checking the easy stuff first”, it makes for a pretty fun way to look at and solve problems.
7. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
If Schaeffer changed the way that I see the secular world, Lewis changed the way that I view the Christian walk. In this book, Lewis makes the concept of the Gospel and walking it out as simple as possible. He uses clear, concise language to communicate the message of love that pours forth from the Scriptures. This is a must read whether you’re a new Christian or a well-seasoned veteran.
8. The Law by Frederic Bastiat
Written by a French philosopher a long time ago, The Law made me see the political and economic system in a completely different light. Bastiat focuses on freedom being the root of all else and that, without it, the system doesn’t work. Whether you’re republican or democrat, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy.
9. See You At The Top by Zig Ziglar
A motivating work of literature that forced me to look at everything in a positive light. Ziglar spends his pages declaring the praises of positive thinking, self talk, and expecting to win. This book will just plain make you happy no matter who you are. If you’re down in the dumps or need a boost, this book is for you.
10. Ishmael by E.D.E.N. Southworth
If you’re a parent, this book should be read with your kids. The story centers around Ishmael Worth – a child who faces insurmountable odds to become a self-made man. It’s a bit intimidating in length and takes a while to get..less than depressing. But unless you appreciate where the boy comes from, you never truly appreciate where he goes.
I swore that I wasn’t going to extend the list but I couldn’t leave these two out…
Call of the Wild by Jack London
If you like adventure, this one is for you. Since becoming an avid runner, I no longer consider myself a “dog person” which is really ironic since this book tells the entire story from a dog’s viewpoint. London’s manliness comes out in every page as Buck faces harsh winters, ferocious wolves, and sled racing. This was a fantastic read for me and highly recommended.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
This book is what sparked my love for learning new languages (and things in general) and feeling like I could accomplish that, myself. I strongly believe that, without this book, I would never have listened to the Daily Audio Bible in Spanish long after finishing the actual school requirements. I would have never worked to become conversational in Mandarin Chinese before visiting the country this year. I certainly would have never learned some Tagalog to better communicate with our accounts payable department in the Philippines (despite them being able to speak English). This book truly inspired me to be a lifelong learner. Thanks for making us read it in school, Mom.
There you have it. A list of my favorites. Hopefully you learned a little bit more about me in the process of reading what I like to read. Also, it is worth mentioning that I will gladly ready anyone’s list because I love adding to mine and seeing what inspires others. Tag me!