Slowing down often has the unintended benefit of making us more reflective. During this time of slowness I’ve been reflecting on life, family, travel, business, career, and more. Reflection almost always leads me to reading which inevitably leads me to more writing.
I’ve been reading a lot lately, although primarily online mediums (blogs, journals, news articles, etc), but the other day I attempted to locate one of my favorite books of all time (On Writing Well by Zinnsser). I couldn’t find it! Argh! Ultimately, I reordered a copy and it was as good as ever.
While waiting for it to arrive I was reminded of the various books that have shaped my life and I started making a mental list. Soon, it was clear I needed to put this list to paper (er, blog paper, as the case may be). Here’s a list of 10 books that have shaped my life in good, bad, unusual, unexpected and more ways.
- Note: With the exception of the first book, the list is NOT in order. I attempted to sort them based on impact but it was simply too hard. The books were too situational to really put into an order that made sense.
- By the way, we love books here at the CBoardingGroup and have written a piece entitled 47 Great Travel Books. If you are looking for more stuff to read, give it a peak.
Are any of the books listed below on your personal list? What books have shaped your life? Drop a comment at the end to let me know!
As an above average reader I was introduced to Tolkien at a young age…like around 7 or 8 and utterly consumed it. Few books have captured my imagination at these levels and it remains my favorite book series of all time. It shaped my life in many ways including introducing me to the Fantasy genre (a long time favorite), expanding my vocabulary, and sparking an imaginative side of me that’s served me well over the years.
For years I was always the kid asking “why?” I needed to know why something needed to be done, why it was important, or how it tied into the broader scheme of things. When I discovered Simon Sinek’s famous YouTube video I was captivated. So much made sense to me.
Later, I purchased the book which conveyed a deeper set of insights into Sinek’s core philosophy and indisputably shaped my professional and personal life. How I lead teams, how I choose what focus on at work, the decisions I make, etc, are intentionally or subconsciously based on the underlying principle’s of Sinek’s simple, but powerful message.
Here’s the video, if you’ve not seen it:
The Chronicles of Narnia a beautiful story of young children who become kings and queens and share incredible adventures. It was required reading in our household, but mom didn’t have to push me too hard to read this series.
The title of this piece is the 10 Books that Have Changed my Life. What’s not stated in the title is whether that change was positive or negative. Without delving too far into the the religious realm (a subject I suspect my readers are not interested in) I can state that the Bible has impacted my life in both positive and negative ways. More good than bad, to be sure. As someone with a Protestant religious background I’ve adopted a more pragmatic view of the universe these days, but this book has played a large role in my life there’s no denying that. I will leave it at that.
As a high school student my grandfather shared his original copy of Carnegie’s masterpiece, How to Win Friends and Influence People with me. While gramps has passed, it was one of the coolest things he’s ever done for me. For one, as you can clearly tell, I love to read. But, secondly, this book is a masterpiece in understanding how to interact with people, particularly in a work setting. For an introvert who was a bit on the shy side, this book gave me the “why” behind a lot of the “what” and inspired me to improve how I interacted with people.
If you are a writer this book will change your life. If you are not a writer, this book will change your life. It’s that simple.
In the corporate world it’s tempting to focus on our weakenesses. What are we doing wrong? What should we fix? Correct. Etc.
The StrengthsFinder philosophy flips that model on it’s head by suggesting we should 1) understand what we ARE good at, and 2) focus on them.
I’ve used this book and associated survey with every single team I’ve ever lead in the last 15 years. It creates coaching opportunities within your team, helps you understand how to assign work, interact with your peers, employees and leadership. Highly recommended!
The Lean Startup changed the entire face of software development and software startups. It changed my entire perspective on how to get things done, particularly with startup projects. It also felt like a sequel of sorts to Getting Real which is the next book on my list.
In the early 2000’s I was settling into the corporate world. Having left the Marine Corps I often found myself irritated with the pace of corporate life. I wanted to GET SHIT DONE. This is exactly what Jason Fried and his Basecamp team did in bootstrapping their business and it was highly inspirational. It was a sort of lean methodology in its own right.
Who doesn’t love a trilogy that has five books? Yes, Doug Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy (and the other 4 books) are a quirky and zany romp through space, time and the rules of writing. This book helped me understand that while there are writing rules, it’s ok to break them if you deliver something as incredible as what Adams has.
Ironically, this book is full of great travel tips too which must have subconsciously helped me prepare to run a travel blog where I talk about travel tips!
A Summary of Great Books that have changed my life
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – J.R.R. Tolkien
- Start with Why – Simon Sinek
- Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
- The Bible- by God
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- On Writing Well – Zinnsser
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath
- The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
- Getting Real – Jason Fried
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
How about you? What books have changed your life?
How about you? What books have changed your life? Could be good or bad. I’d love to hear from you. Please drop us a comment, below, or tweet us. We are always looking for great books and we love interacting with our readers.
Thanks – stay safe – stay home
Like many of us, you are probably struggling to find your new normal. Perhaps you’ve done that and are simply bored. We’ve got your back. Here’s a ton of recent content that revolves around what’s facing us today, including working from home ideas, what to watch, things to read, and how to avoid boredom. Enjoy.
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