“It is with books as with men: a very small number play a great part.”
When my father died at age 7, I had no older brother or sister for guidance. Essentially I had to rely upon my own resources as I grew up. I also lost my religion fairly early so I was neither a believer or reader of The Bible. I know that many people find comfort, guidance and wisdom from their religious beliefs. However I chose to go a different way. Reading was a critical element in my life. Books provided me entertainment, knowledge, guidance and perspective. I’m estimating that I have read over 5000 books in my life.
There were a number of books that inspired me in my personal life. There were stories (real and fiction) of people who overcame challenges and provided examples and lessons on how one should conduct their lives.
Here is a list of books that made a significant impression on how I view life, death, relationships and morality.
Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived by Lawrence James and Peter Barton
Learning To Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect life by Philip Simmons
The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts (I always encourage people just to read the first chapter which is powerful, if they can’t read the entire book.)
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Running to the Mountain by Jon Katz
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Eureka (A Novel) by Jim Lehrer
The Way of the Ronin by Bev Potter (changed my view on work and just being labeled an employee)
Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
Winter Journal by Paul Auster
Chasing Death: How my Forthcoming Death Changed My Life by Eugene O’Neill
Stoner by John Williams
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque
Creating the Good Life by James O’Toole