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Which books have influenced your thinking the most? - Page 4

post #46 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Computerpro3
The Brothers Karamazov - I'm in the middle of this right now. Quite amazing.
I've only read "The Grand Inquisitor" chapter, but it was by far one of the greatest things I've ever read. The whole book is next on my "to-read" list and I'm really looking forward to when I actually will have the time to do some leisure reading again.

Also, the following short quote was one of the most influencial things I ever read:

Throwing down your sword is also an art of war. If you have attained mastery of swordlessness, you will never be without a sword. The opponent's sword is your sword. This is acting at the vanguard of the moment.

"Swordlessness" doesn't necessarily mean that you have to take the opponent's sword. It also doesn't mean that you make a show of sword-snatching for your reputation. It is the swordless art of not getting killed when you have no sword.

The basic intention is nothing like deliberately setting out to snatch a sword.

It is not a matter of insistently trying to wrest away what is being deliberately kept from your grasp. Not to grasp (the opponent's) attempt to keep hold (of the sword) is also "swordlessness." Someone who is intent on not having (his sword) taken away forgets what he's opposed to and just tries to avoid having (his sword) taken away, so he can't manage to kill anyone.

Swordlessness is not the art of taking another's sword. Its purpose is to use all tools freely. If you are even able to take away another's sword when you are unarmed, and make it your own, then what will not be useful in your hands?


-Yagyû Tajima no kami Munenori
post #47 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by floydenheimer
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
this is a marvelous book. don't let the crummy movie by the same name deter you from reading this. one of the things that was remarkable was how he deliberately strips away the imagery in this book of ideas. contrast this with thomas hardy's 'tess of the d'urbervilles', which is filled with imagery and which was tailor made to be made into a fine movie.
i'd also recommend much of peter matthiessen's non-fiction. it's some of the most beautiful writing around. thoughtlful and full of introspection and observation about the world around us. he's incredibly well traveled and many of these books are set in remote or exotic locales. this sort of adventure is often the beginning of rethinking much of what one takes for granted.
post #48 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by F1GTR
I think one can only reach this conclusion once they have lost all faith and optimism. A sad existence really.
True, I have very little optimism ... and even less faith. But I'm probably the most secure person I know. There's nothing more enlightening, or brutal, than honesty. Maybe I'm wrong, I do have faith. I put it in reality, not dreams.
post #49 of 73
Gideon's Trumpet
The requirement the every person had the right to an attorney was established in the case of Gideon vs. Wainwright.

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
With his book royalties, Ken Kesey buys a 1939 International Harvester bus, loads it with the Merry Pranksters and a lot of LSD and their off.

The Stainless Steel Rat
One of the great Sci-Fi heroes of all time. The series gets thin after a while, but the first book is great.

Sorry, GlorytheWiz825, Ayn Rand is evil!
post #50 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkFloyd
Haynes car manuals, they are my bible.
Aww... No love for Chilton manuals?
post #51 of 73
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller--by far.


Others:

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
The Iliad and The Odyssey
post #52 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkjohnso
Richard Dawkins - Climbing Mount Improbable
Is this the same guy who did the documentary 'The Root of All Evil?' and just released the book 'The God Delusion'. Are his books solid enough to justify his claims?
post #53 of 73
The obvious:
The bible
No-one from the western world can escape that influence since the whole western society is based on it.

1984

I don't know if this counts as influenced your thinking but Oliver Twist haunted me for quite a while after reading it.
Charles Dickens was a very insightful man. Must have been a great observer.
post #54 of 73
Lisa says
Quote:
The bible . . . 1984
About Right!
post #55 of 73
Constitution/Bill of Rights/Federalist Papers/Anti-Federalist Papers

Only slightly behind the Bible in importance, as it's the template for the democratic republics that most of us live in. Between the founders and their critics, they pretty much thought of everything. The Anti-Federalist papers are of particular importance in today's political world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pds6
Sorry, GlorytheWiz825, Ayn Rand is evil!
I wouldn't say evil as much as absurdly reactionist. Now, Soviet Russia under Lenin/Stalin, that's evil.

Mostly though, I found the writing in the Fountainhead/Atlas Shrugged to be poorly written melodrama mixed in with large tracts of Objectivist philosophy. The characters are also suspect with impossibly smart/handsome/capable heroes set against improbably stupid/incompetent villians.

Still, I'd list both of them as books that had an impact on my thinking. The ideas contained in them are incredibly seductive to those who see themselves as intelligent/competent/successful people.
post #56 of 73
marvin says:
Quote:
The Anti-Federalist papers are of particular importance in today's political world.
I find that the person who lost a battle often has a better insight.

Quote:
I wouldn't say evil as much as absurdly reactionist. Now, Soviet Russia under Lenin/Stalin, that's evil.
She just wasn't given a chance, but people are reading.
post #57 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa
The obvious:
The bible
No-one from the western world can escape that influence since the whole western society is based on it.
While the Bible is certainly an important book, almost certainly the most important, it will still be a stretch to say 'the whole western society is based on it.' Many many many other books and beliefs shaped the western world, and, taken as a whole, probably moreso than the Bible.
post #58 of 73
On a "spiritual" (ha ha ) level, Jack Kerouac's On The Road jumpstarted my thinking at the age of 16. It's still one of my all-time favorite books. Beautiful, original - and, for those not careful enough to notice, it is a alegory for be-bop music!

I began thinking much differently about economy and politics after finishing Thomas Freidman's The World Is Flat.

Oh, and my own writing was influenced greatly by Kurt Vonnegut.
post #59 of 73
The Bible for me... fo show
post #60 of 73
Victor Davis Hanson- The Soul of Battle ...how a military force whose goal is freedom can do great things

Milton Friedman- Free to Choose: A Personal Statement ...this book played a huge part in helping me define what I've always felt: I'm a fiscal conservative

F.A. Hayek- The Road to Serfdom...see above

Thomas Hobbes- Leviathan... sums up my feelings about society quite well

David Landes- The Wealth and Poverty of Nations...a good counterpoint to Guns, Germs, and Steel

Ian William Miller- The Mystery of Courage...for anyone who wants an exhaustive review of courage in all of its forms

Jan Morris - Heaven's Command "An Imperial Progress"
Pax Brittanica "The Climax of an Empire"
Farewell the Trumpets "An Imperial Retreat"

This trilogy makes you consider America's current position in the world and what type of policies do and do not work

Steven Pinker- The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature... as the title states

Roger Shattuck- Forbidden Knowledge...in our modern culture where nothing is obscene or off limits, this book deals with notion that this just might not be the best thing

Christina Hoff Sommers- The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is harming our young men... as the title states

Thomas Sowell- A Conflic of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles...helps put into perspective why Democrats support certain positions and Republicans others


These are just some of the books that have helped to shape the way I think and my general world view. There are many more and some by the same authors but I think this is representative.

I purposefully left off fiction writers because I've always had a hard time pinpointing their exact influence but I've read a lot of the greats and it would take a foolish person to think that they haven't affected my thinking in some way.

oops...I forgot to give a very honorable mention to Bill James and all of his writings, his writings have encouraged me to approach baseball in a completely different way.
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