From Science Fiction to cookery. From business to Poetry. From Philosophy to Biography. What’s funny is reading never interested me at school or in my younger days, but today it is one of passions, and its hard for me to pick one topic that intrigues me the most. But if pressed to pick one, it would have to be mind-related, and that would probably mean philosophy and/or psychology. Very quickly let me explain why i advocate reading so much:
- Reading is one of those things that is harshly unappreciated, for when you want to learn something, you really have to look no further than a good book. Read my post: The freedom of self-education
- A book is the most undervalued thing in the world. Just imagine, the author of your book has spent tens of hours, maybe hundreds of hours, scribbling away, editing and tirelessly making sure that their words speak of their minds thoughts. The thoughts can teach you, inform you, inspire you, heal you, change you. Now look at the price of the books: 3, 5, 8 pounds? This is crazy.
- Look at the money spent on education, workshops and courses. When for as little as a few pounds you can pick up something that allows you to tech yourself? I heartily believe that if you tech yourself to read early on, you don’t have to go to school. Education, as i have discussed before, is largely horseshit and definitely baloney. If a kid is allowed to choose what they want to learn, then unemployment drops, depression decreases, and money wasted goes drastically down.
Anyway, i thought i would share a few of my favourite books. These resonate deeply with me, and have had an effect in my life someway or another. I know that if any of you pick up one of these books, you’ll learn something new and you’ll see things differently. Each mini description is followed by one of my favoruite lines.
The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran – A beautifully written book that presents elegant lines of truth about life, humanity, our minds and our meaning. The book reads like rhythmic poetry, only it doesn’t rhyme is sound, it rhymes with your thoughts. One of my favourite lines from the book is: “If this is my day of harvest, in what fields have I sowed the seed, and in what un-remembered seasons?”
The alchemist, by Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist is one of those books that I keep coming back to. It’s a book that i recommend again and again. It’s fictional, but every chapter contains powerful truths about life. The story is about a boy who goes in search for his treasure after dreaming of finding it. His journey to it, is more fascinating than Einstein’s theory of relativity. “If everyone could dig up their backyard and discover gold, it would have no value.“
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl – Written by a survivor of the Holocaust. Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychologist who found himself, like millions of others, inside a Nazi camp. His story is not only a story. It is also guide for how to live our lives, be mentally strong and think about ourselves. The importance of a tranquil mind is explained perfectly in this short book. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi – A book by an Ancient Martial Artist and Warrior. Musashi’s book is largely considered one of the best ever written, especially in the field of Martial Arts. And for those who don;t know, Martial Arts is not about fighting, it’s about living and being. It’s about love. It’s about the world. It’s about the mind. It’s about being the best we can be. For a book written in 1645, the lines are still more than significant today. And i suspect it will stay that way for a long time. “All man are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them.”
The Bible, by ??? – Although i have not read all of the Bible, and am by no means a Christian. I was however, brought up reciting the lines and singing the hymns throughout my primary and secondary school days. Because of this, i know a little about it, but its enough to make me appreciate what a fascinating boo it is. Only now do i recognize the wisdom that it holds and this has led me to look through it on a regular basis. Even if you’re not religious, read in the name of learning. You will learn an awful lot from just a few pages. “When we save our lives we only lose them. It is in losing our lives that we are saved.” – Jesus
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari – It has taken academics by storm… and it’s not even academic. This book gives a ‘brief’ overview of our history as humans on this tiny blue dot. But the word brief doesn’t do it justice, because Yuval goes into mind-blowing detail about how we evolved to become what we are. How we defeated all other forms of humans such as the homo ergaster and the homo denisova. Then he traces how we created the modern-day we live in, and finally he finishes on our future. If you want to know how we ended up like we are, read this book. “Telling effective stories is not easy. The difficulty lies not in telling the story, but in convincing everyone else to believe it.”
The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield – Creating amazing things is hard. Be it art, books, music, muscles, meals, poetry, movies or any creative endeavour. Why is it so hard and how do we overcome it? Why do we even attempt it? Why does we appreciate it so much once it’s done? All of these questions are answered inside this very short read. This book is written in such a unique style, that every time i read a book that is not this one, i wish the author was Steven, because his words are so clear, so elegant and so straight to the point. “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
Looking back over these few books, it’s clear that i like books that have the potential to open one’s mind, and help one bet the best they can be. There are so many more books that i want to write down here, such as the charismatic Creativity by Twin-tower wire walker Philippe Petit, Screw it let’s do it by Richard Branson, and A guide to the good life by William Irvine. I will probably do another 1 or 2 posts and categorise the books for you guys and gals.
If you would like to pick up the books mentioned in this post, just click the titles to be taken straight to Amazon. Thanks for reading!
What are you favourite books? Have you read any of these books? Please share in the comments box below.