Life changing books

Lifehacker asks the question, What books have changed your life?

Life-changing books are not just your favorite books… but books that altered your behavior, changed your mind, redirected the course of your life. Books as levers.

An interesting question worthy of pondering. Here are mine.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
Douglas Adams’ wonderful novel (and subsequent sequels) became popular during my college years, when reading for me turned into a chore. It was hard to read just for fun — it was something I HAD to do to get good grades. The Hitchhiker’s Guide changed all that. It was the first book that made me laugh out loud. In addition to the humor, Adams includes many poignant life philosophies as well.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
by Dee Brown
Reading the tragic history of the American Indian, told from their viewpoint, first sparked my interest in Native American culture.

John Hedgecoe’s Complete Photography Course
by John Hedgecoe
I bought my first single-lens reflex camera (a Fujica) when I was in high school. Soon after I got it, friends of my parents (Eric and Doreen) visited my family and gave me this book. It opened up the world of photography for me, teaching me concepts such as depth-of-field, composition, aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, etc. This particular book is long out of print, but Hedgecoe has many others, including some specifically on digital photography. Highly recommended.

Tales of Known Space
by Larry Niven
This collection of short stories was one of the first science fiction books I read. After reading Niven’s thought provoking writing, science fiction titles were the only ones on my book shelves for quite a while.

Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web
by Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos
This book was required reading for a class I was taking in the Web Developers Certificate Program at Marquette University. It showed me the simple yet complex beauty of CSS and designing for the web, and solidified my interest in web development work.

The Black Stallion
by Walter Farley
Farley’s Black Stallion series were outstanding adventure stories for a boy in junior high school to read. I remember spending hours with my friends pretending we were in the stories. They were probably the first books I read that made me really enjoy reading.

One comment on “Life changing books

  1. Like your list of favorite influential books. I had forgotten that Eric and Doreen gave you that photography book. they would be pleased to know it is one of your favorites. Of your list, mime could also include “Bury My Heart…” to that I would add for my list “Book of Common Prayer,” the “Psalms”, and poems by Emily Dickinson – and a variety of Cathedral books – and the list could get too long. What a gift for life are books and the writers of our favorites. Deus gratias!

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