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Friday, September 5, 2014

Top Ten: Most Influential Books

So this chain post has been going around Facebook again. List the ten books that have had the greatest influence on you, and then tag a bunch of people.
I saw these lists going around months ago, so I sat down and created one, hoping I would get tagged...but I didn't. So it sat there on my phone, waiting. I actually intended to blog about it way back then as an alternative to posting it on Facebook...but I forgot.  To be honest, I've been struggling with blogging since I am on a computer all day at work, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is get on the computer again. (Don't tell anyone, but most of the blogging I've done lately has been during down time at work.)  Anyway, someone finally tagged me in one of these posts, so at last I was able to share my list.  It reminded me that I wanted to do a blog post about it too.

So here is the list of the ten (non-religious) books that have had the greatest impact on me personally:

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
9. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Jean-Dominique Bauby)
8. The Hiding Place (Corrie ten Boom)
7. The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)-
6. 1984 (George Orwell)
5. How To Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
4. Marley and Me (John Grogan)
3. Anthem (Ayn Rand)
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
1. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)-

I have made each book title above a link to my own review, so you can see more details about why I liked each one. There are a few that I haven't written full reviews about, but I created a similar list four years ago where I gave brief explanations for why I loved each book. You can read it here. It is interesting to see how the list has changed between now and then.

The only books on my new list that aren't covered in any reviews, or my old list, are 1984, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

1984 has had a huge impact on me because it opened my eyes to a lot of scary things that actually go on in the world. It is how I learned of the term "Orwellian" now used to describe situations relating to public surveillance, censorship, and dictatorships. It made me aware of the idea of "newspeak", which we can actually see happening all around us. I'm not sure I've ever read a more prophetic novel, and that is pretty frightening. The world of 1984 is slowly converging with our own, and people need to know about these things.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the greatest helps I have found in my quest to overcome my natural shyness.  Dale Carnegie knew what he was talking about, and somehow figured out all the tricks to be likeable and charismatic, and generally successful in life. I'm glad he so willingly passed this knowledge on to the rest of us. I admit that so far in my life I have only applied a few of his suggestions, but it has had a huge impact on my life. I need to read/study this book again, and evaluate what I can work on next.

There you go! I hope you like my new list. :)

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