on facebook some 9 years ago my friend John Smith challenged me to name 10 books that have stuck with me and influenced my life. I declined at the time but, it’s been a minute, and I’m up for it now:
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
– this was one of the first books I ever devoured to the point of missing sleep. It was a big deal because as a kid I wasn’t a good reader (I caught up eventually after some necessary eye surgery). I saw the movie and read this like it was fanfic. Fanfic remains a big chunk of my reading.
I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
– this book, luck and hard work, is why I own a house (which is something he recommends against). I was devoted to his blog before the book dropped in 2009, and I devoured and implemented the advice as I read through it. I continue to follow it and revisit it on occasion. His framework for personal finances is fantastic. My fan theory is his origin in the online pickup artist community is why he was able to produce the best scripts for phone calls with banks / credit cards.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks
– this was a foundational text and informed my entire understanding of how weird it is to be a human with a brain
Being and Nothingness by Sartre (selected readings)
– why did I get a philosophy BA? this was why
Existentialism remains my jam
Getting Things Done by David Allen
– this book is the foundation to my todo system – and my todo system is how I am able to do things really – it helped me figure out the power of not doing, of trusting my system and not trusting my brain – also just how much being busy is bullshit
Invest Yourself by the Commission on Voluntary Service & Action
– I volunteered with CVSA when I was 18. I cold / warm called libraries asking if they wanted the newest edition of this book. This book grounded me with the knowledge that if I need to bounce from my career / my life as it is that there are other tracks I can take – that the ‘rat race’ and the common path are not the only paths. I recently heard if you need to be blessed make yourself a blessing and it reminded me of all the good in this book of weird paths and alternate futures
Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House Book by Cheryl Mendelson
– This big bible of how to keep house is amazing. The preface tells the story of a big shot corporate woman who secretly loves house work. The way this book interfaces with gender and norms and capitalism is subtle and weird – mostly it is just packed with good advice and in-depth explanations of how to live in a house
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
– This book is some top tier bullshit and the author could be poster child for unexamined privilege. He got rich off selling dubious supplements on the internet. Yet it, like CVSA, reminds me that the paths we are given are not the ones we have to take, that we can forge other paths / the importance of crafting the life we want for ourselves
The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
– Solar punk magical future fiction book. There’s a passage in it about water access and how it is a blessing and thinking about it makes me salivate whenever I recall it.
A People’s History of the United States is by Howard Zinn
– The first best history book I read. I never felt comfortable with big man history, and I’ve always loved labor history. Howard Zinn was my gateway to history.
So dear reader – Have you read any of these books? Share your thoughts! Also, what should I read next? What 10 books impacted you?