I know that many of us are on here because we don't like a book telling us how to think, but books are still important ways to share ideas and spark conversations. I think that the paths to thinking a certain way are many, and I'm curious to know what that journey has been like for you.
Most of the ones I've read. Though learning about the Kardashev Scale via Michio Kaku has influenced me. Also Kahlil Gibrans many books. And the sensitive dependence on initial conditions thought process from Chaos is a big one that helps. Though I am fond of Alyosha The Pot too.
The Immense Journey, by Loren Eiseley, for its natural history.
The Golden Ass, by Apulius, for its irreverence.
The Rievers, by William Faulkner, for its young protagonist who stole a car, jockeyed a race horse, and got cut up in a knife fight in a whore house all before his tenth birthday. And for his genuine remorse and the compassion he was shown by his grandfather, the owner of the car.
Siddhartha, by Herman Hess, for its commentary in the world of the possible.
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, for its look at greed and obsession.
The Golden Shore, by Patrick O'brien, for its tale of perseverance and resourcefulness in the face of extreme privation and suffering.
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Sexing the Body: Gender Politics & the Construction of Sexuality by Anne Fausto-Sterling
Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity by Stephen Toulmin
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison by Michel Foucault
I think I may have to add Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (which I've just started)
"Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin.
"One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and "Cancer Ward" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
"The Art of Loving" by Erich Fromm.
"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck.
"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.
"Nine Stories" by J.D. Salinger
"The War Prayer" by Mark Twain.
"Side Effects" by Woody Allen.
"Animal Farm" by George Orwell.
"The Pearl" by John Steinbeck.
It was assigned reading in high school and it is also the book that first got me interested in reading a lot more books. In Steinbeck's nonfiction book "The Sea of Cortez", he mentions the inspiration for the story was based on a story he heard from local villagers of supposedly actual events. "The Pearl" and "The Grapes of Wrath" both together show harsh relaities and put me in touch with the real world, after having been raised in an insulated religious home which left me very sheltered from reality.
It was not long after that I also read "Animals Farm" an d"1984" by George Orwell, which showed me tht although reality was harsh, things could always be/get much worse.
Those four books flipped me from the conservative mindset i ws brought up to have, to a progressive mindse, seeing fairness and equality for all.
Wow, ill try to narrow it down to just a few.
Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn. If you have not read this, please please do so.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirzig
The Demon Haunted World, by Carl Sagan
Tao of Jeet Kune Do, by Bruce Lee
Universe, Earth and Atom, by Alan Nourse
The two books that did it for me; WHERE EVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE
by Jon Kabot-Zinn,
THE SEVEN SPIRITUAL LAWS OF SUCCESS by Deepak Chopra
I would enjoy healthy discussions with all who relate. I am also a GEORGE CARLIN deciple.
If I ever had a god it would have to be George.
Remember, the gods all died laughing!!!!!
I would say the first proper book I read had the most effect. Not because of it's content or story, it was The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but because it opened up the idea of reading. I never read anything in my own time and only read what I had to at school to get me by. John Wyndham opened up a universe of wonder.
Waaaay too many to enumerate. i know my writing style was more influenced by john lennon's books than by books i consider better written than those; i can't help it. they influenced me. but my worldview, apart from my writing style? hmm. maybe... oh gosh, i could list hundreds. before my eyes went bad i used to read an awful lot. i wish i still could. be that as it may, here are a few... or a few dozen... let's see how far i get before i have to stop myself. in no particular order: cancer ward and pretty much anything else by aleksandr solzhenitsyn, edith hamilton's greek mythology, cry the beloved country by alan paton, the danny kaye around the world story book, stranger in a strange land and pretty much anything else by robert a heinlein, the manchurian candidate, gentleman's agreement, the works of harlan ellison but in particular the glass teat and the other glass teat, all the books i could get my hands on by elie wiesel, elizabeth foreman lewis, chaim potok, stephen becker, charles dickens, thomas hardy, fyodr dostoevsky, primo levi, joanna russ (omg everyone go read all of her nonfiction, not that her fiction isn't wonderful, but her nonfiction is amazing), antoine de saint-exupéry (and pardon me if i have misspelled him), louisa may alcott, robert louis stevenson, mark twain, j d salinger, even albert payson terhune, though thankfully i did not adopt his racism, nevil shute, laurens van der post, desmond morris, robert graves, edward eager, maya angelou, ogden nash, robert lowell, john berryman, i am leaving out a boatload of important influences for sure but these came off the top of my head. oh, lewis carroll and edward lear. nonsense influenced me an awful lot, which is why lennon made such an impression, and that reminds me i should add s j perelman and h h munro to that mix. okay i'll stop but there are so many more....
Probably have to say Anarchist Morality by Peter Kropotkin. I rarely quote it anymore but it lead me down a long path and many of the others that influenced me greatly I may never have read if it wasn't for this book.
Fredy Perlman's Against His-Story - Against Leviathan, a Jaques Ellul's The Technological Society are both in my top 3 as well.