Since I was a child I have always loved reading and I realised that I read mainly to learn something new, that will enrich me in some way. The books that I learn something from are the most memorable for me. Then there are also those books, which I just enjoy, like watching a movie, but that don’t give me anything more then the pleasure from reading a story. These types of books are also good, but are ultimately forgotten and never returned to, unlike the books in the first category. There are also a few books, that have not only taught me something new, but have actually changed the way I think and so changed my life. Here is a list of books that have changed my life and others that have influenced me in some way. They are a random mix, from fact to fiction, but they have all touched me differently.
The books that changed my life
The Power of Now and New Earth, Eckhart Tolle – both incredibly powerful books, about how to live in the present and stop worrying and thinking about the past or future. Tolle advises advises you to be the watcher of your thoughts and in this way be in the present, escaping the constant chatter in your head. Truly life changing for me. Again they are not new ideas, but they were the books that for me led to a realisation of these ancient truths.
Darwin’s Black Box, Michael J Behe – “Michael J. Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University, presents here a scientific argument for the existence of a Creator…he argues, life is “irreducibly complex”. Faced with complexity at this level, Behe suggests that it can only be the product of “intelligent design” (Amazon review).
This book helped me think about the complexity of the natural world and reaffirm my belief in God, when I started having doubts. You can read more on this in my earlier blog post here.
Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, by Dembski, Behe and Meyer
Another book that argues and gives examples to illustrate the argument for intelligent design, along with Behe’s book above.
The Secret, Rhonda Byrne – talks about the ‘law of attraction’ and how positive thinking can bring about the results we desire in our lives. I saw the film and haven’t read the book, but the book became a best seller after the film was made. The film made me think for the first time about why positive thinking could be good for you. The film argues that the ‘universe’ will help you attain your goal, if you visualise it enough, but in my mind although that might be true, it is simply the fact that we have ascertained what we want and imagined it, that lets us work towards achieving that goal whether consciously or subconsciously. This is not a new idea and has many proponents, but this film was significant for me as it introduced me to the concept and really got me thinking about it and also made me realise that there is not point in thinking negative thoughts.
The Element: How finding your passion changes everything, Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica – this gave me hope and the answer to my question does the ideal job exist? Can everyone find a passion for something? Ken Robinson argues that everyone can find their passion or their element and everybody has one. If they haven’t found it, they just have to keep on searching. I thought about what my element is and realised that it is writing about anything and mainly about the things and ideas that influence me. You can read more about the book in my earlier blog post here.
Skinny Bitch, Rory freedman and Kim Barnouin – this book made me change my lifestyle because I read in detail how animals are inhumanely treated and slaughtered on mass meat farms (esp. in the USA). I haven’t become vegan as the book advocates, but I have cut down my intake of meat and other animal products, and I try to stay off white flower and refined sugar as much as I can. If I do eat meat or animal products I try to eat organic produce and mainly fish instead of other meats.
Other books that spoke to me
Alchemist, Paulo Coelho (fiction) – this bestseller tells an inspiring story about a boy who follows his heart. The message I took from it was that, even if we are fearful of doing something we must take the risk and follow our hearts and do it, otherwise we will always live with regrets and dreams unfulfilled. A must read.
The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shafak – an amazing book about Sufism and the story of Rumi, through the eyes of a bored American Jewish housewife. Thoroughly recommended – even though it’s fiction, it made me learn more about Sufism and its teachings.
Why Dirt is good, Dr Mary Ruebush – I learnt why germs can sometimes be good for you and why anti-bacterial products can be harmful. Read my earlier blog post for more information here.
More recommended reading – personal development
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly – Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life
Jones, Peter – How to do Everything and be Happy
Krznaric, Roman – How to Find Fulfilling Work
Lelord, François – Hector & the Search for Happiness, Hector & the Secrets of Love, Hector Finds Time (stories of Hector illustrating lessons in psychology)
Lyubomirsky Sonja, The How of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting the Life You Want
Penman Danny and Mark Williams – Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world.
Kuby, Clemens – Towards the Next Dimension
Moody, Raymond A. – Life after Life
Stevenson, Ian – Children who Remember Past Lives
Coelho Paulo, Aleph
Hosseini Khaled, A Thousand Splendid Suns
Hosseini Khaled, The Kite Runner
Shafak Elif, The Bastard of Istanbul
Shafak Elif, Honour