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Four of the most influential books...


(This was first written on Feb 26, 2006 on our Proboards site.)

...that I've ever read. Not saying they're great literature, just that they've influenced my life in a big way. In no particular order, they are:

1) 1984 by George Orwell.

I think the only thing wrong with this book is that Orwell got the time frame wrong. It's a wonderful lesson in just how manipulative language and ideas can be, especially when coming from 'authority' and when used to shape the human condition. A prime example is one we see every day and I'm willing to bet d**n few people pay any attention to it. Does anyone remember when employees were 'Personel'? Now, we are simply 'Human Resources'. The current trend in political correctness is disturbing to me as I see in it the fruition of Orwell's totalitarian nightmare.

2) Animal Farm by George Orwell.

"All animals are equal but some are more equal." If ever anyone wanted a concise example of governmental evolution and proof that ALL government is inherently evil, they could do no better than to read this book.

3) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

Rand's portrayal of what man's highest ideal should be is best read before this...

4) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

...book which takes Howard Roarke's ideal humanism and applies it to society. Warning...this is NOT great literature, as far as a safe, comfortable read goes. It is philosophy, pure and simple and like all philosophy, it can be deep and ponderous reading.

These four books have formed my own philosophy on government, humans and most importantly, myself. These four books, to me, illustrate all that is good and bad within humanity. These four books are the benchmark of human perfection and although I fall far short of that ideal, at least I have a standard by which to judge my progress...or lack thereof.



Re: Four of the most influential books...
? Reply #1 on Mar 1, 2006, 8:08am ?   


If I hadn't met you, I would have been able to put you into a specific era by those book choices. I read them in the mid 60's. Orwell has influenced my thinking from my first read of Animal Farm. Curiously, my brother and I recently discussed this book. Just the other day, in fact.

Ayn Rand was always way 'round the bend' for me. Required reading in college. Well the Fountain Head was and I read Atlas Shrugged because it was there.

To add to the list of books written in that genre would be The Dollmaker, The Collector, On the Beach and Round the Bend by Nevil Shute, Catch 22, and I added a muckraker from the turn of the century, Upton Sinclair and his The Jungle.

Stephen Crane and his poetry also helped shape me. "Think as I think or you are a toad. You are abomiinably wicked. So I thought and said, Sir, I will, then, be a toad."


Re: Four of the most influential books...
? Reply #2 on Mar 5, 2006, 1:25am ?   


I came to Rand late in life, since I never made it to college...in fact, I didn't make it through high school until I was 30 or so. If one were looking for a pleasurable read, Rand would not be my suggestion but I recognized her philosophy of Objectivism. I say recognized because much of it I already felt was right without realizing that I even had a philosophy!

I'll try to check out your suggestions. And yeah, I'd rather be a toad myself. LOL


1984 is on my list too. When I read it long ago it was fiction.

It would be difficult to list 4 books or even 4 authors that influenced me most.  I would have to state the writings of Baha'u'llah, the Profit founder of the Baha'i Faith would be the most influential.  His writings manage to soften a pretty rough creation of God....me.  Other than that, so many words, written by others, have helped shape who I am.  Sometimes a simple line and sometimes a whole book.

Some of my favorite authors today would be Robert Parker of the Spenser series, Elmore Leonard, Dick Francis, Rex Stout of the Nero Wolf series, Tony Hillerman, John Sanders of the Lucas Davenport series and for pure wild adventure, Clive Cussler.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg for authors.  I also have a slew of poets that I like and have influenced.  I love many of the lyricists, like James Taylor, Carole King, and Harry Nielsen.  Isaac Azimov, with his pseudo/scientific fiction stories and his actual scientific writings just amazes me. I must not forget Martin Cruz Smith and his Comrade Arkady series as well as his Gypsy series.  Great stuff.  He also wrote about Cuba and a wonderful book about an expatriot bar owner in Japan the days before Pearl Harbor. 


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