Top 5 books that really improved your life

Discussion in 'Movies, Books, TV & Media' started by vejichan, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. vejichan

    vejichan SS.org Regular

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    Need suggestion.books that teaches about improving memory,communication relationships at work or family etc.
     
  2. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    The #1 book that improved my life is Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
     
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  3. WhiskeyPickleJake

    WhiskeyPickleJake SS.org Regular

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    Tao te Ching and Celestine Prophesy
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Oh, whoops, I totally expected something different from the title.

    If I can throw my advice at you (or not, I'm going to do it either way, here it comes):

    A book probably won't help with those things as much as something interactive.

    For memory, I'd try to learn something new or start a new hobby, maybe even delve into an old one in a new way. The brain, IMO, functions like a muscle, so memorizing things helps with memory. You could try crossword puzzles, where you have to recall data you wouldn't normally need, or something like Rubik's Cube, where you need to memorize and recall new data and put it to some sort of quasi-practical use.

    For everything else, I think a good book on communication wouldn't hurt at all, but again, practicing in a safe environment should be the best way to make improvements. I hate to go as far as therapy, if you simply want to improve communications skills, but it should be one way. Joining a public help group of some sort, or getting involved in something low-stress should help. Maybe play racquetball with new people, or join a group of poker players, just don't get too into it right off, and you'll be communicating with people in a low-stakes environment.

    Then again, social skills are my worst quality, so I probably shouldn't even be giving advice.
     
  5. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    A few that I've liked:

    * The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
    * Your Brain at Work by David Rock
    * A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine (basically an intro to Stoicism)
    * Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
    * Systemantics, The Systems Bible by John Gall

    I've also heard really good things about Deep Work by Cal Newport, but haven't read it yet.
     
  6. Matthias Hornstein

    Matthias Hornstein SS.org Regular

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    Hi Vejichan,

    i would highly recommend to read "Think and grow rich" - by Napoleon Hill

    Let me just give you a short overview:

    The book was first published in 1937. So the book itself is quite old but the information you are getting from the book couldn't be more up-to-date.
    The book itself comes in 15. Chapters with 643 Sites in total.

    To warn you right away. This book is NOT a novel and the name "Think and grow rich" does not neccesserily have something to do with money. It applys to all different kind of areas in your life. Like relationships, friendship, business, communication at work or family like you mentioned it.

    Napoleon Hill interviewed over 25 years the most successful people on the planet back then (like Henry Ford, Thomas A. Edison, etc.) and worked hard to get all the information from those people on how they got so successful.
    So if you want to change your life and make it even better i highly recommend to read that book!!

    Just to give you a little preview:
    - He talks a lot about the 6 basic fears (fear of: Poverty, Criticism, Ill health, Loss of love of someone, old age, death) and how to overcome them
    - How to use your brain to overcome obstacles
    - About how you can motivate yourself and how you can achieve whatever you are dreaming about at the moment (YES! Everything you want - like better relationships or other things you want to improve)
    - How to organize yourself to get all those things done correctly

    This is just a small extract on what he is talking about in the book.
    So if you are struggling at the moment in one of those areas above (or you just want to improve on those topics) i would say you give it a try!

    It was absolutely mind blowing for me and it really changed my life!
    If you want to get yourself to the next level (personal life, relationships, business, ...) go and fight yourself through the book.

    Definitely worth reading it!

    I would be very happy if you share your thoughts about that book once you read it [​IMG]

    PS: I would highly recommend (like the autor) to take notes while you are reading the book + implement all the informations giving there IMMEDIATELY!

    Cheers,
    Matthias
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Since I in general find the whole self-help book thing kind of off-putting and a scam, I'm going to instead intentionally mis-interpret your question and give you five books that improved the quality of my life, for having had experienced them.

    • David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. Hands down my favorite author - I'm not even going to try to describe the plot beyond that a central plot point is Canadian seperatists obtaining and threatening to broadly distribute a film so entertaining that it destroys the viewers's minds, causing them to want nothing else beyond repeated viewings. Wallace is smarter than anyone else in the room and not afraid to let you know it (the book has nearly 300 footnotes, many of which actually advance the plot), but philosophically takes the stance that sarcasm and irony are a modern device to prevent us from engaging emotionally, and must be fought at all costs.
    • Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow. An Amazon.com reviewer describes it as a WWII novel that drops acid about halfway through. Like Wallace not for the faint of heart, but the story of American Lt. Tyrone Slothrop, a Harvard-educated yankee stationed in London, who british intelligence learns that the map he's been keeping of his sexual conquests corresponds perfectly to a map of V-2 rocket strike points, with a mean lag of 3 days after the conquest. It's essentially a novel about paranoia - Pynchon spends the first couple hundred pages building a complex web of connection, only to spend the remainder of the novel systematically dismantling it. Wacky, prone to breaking into song-and-dance routines, but at times also hauntingly powerful.
    • Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle. Ostentaciously sci-fi, about a US government attempt to create alternate crystal structures of water, one of which, ice-9, causes all water it touches to immediately assume the same form, interspersed with words of wisdom from a Carribean mystic. Really, Slaughterhouse-5 or Sirens of Titan also deserve a nod here.
    • Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale. A riff on the traditional African slave narrative, interspersed with Eastern philosophy and reimagined as a buddhist search for enlightenment. Horace Bannon, the Soulcatcher, is one of the most fascinating "villians" I've ever encountered.
    • Picking the last one is tough, but let's end on a light note - Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe. I think the bowl of petunias and sperm whale from the first book are one of the high points of modern comic literature, all the more so because the last book actually answers the question they pose.
     
  8. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    I'd recommend the later two over CC, maybe because I read them first, but I remember Slaughterhouse 5 being unlike anything I had ever read (which is all of Vonnegut's work really) and Sirens of Titan had just a sort of hilarity to it through and how all the pieces come together just blew me away and really made me question if a well written book like that are actually the highest form of art (which is an entirely subjective argument to have because you could easily find someone to define the pinnacles of other mediums as well)
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I mean, you can't go wrong with ANY of those, and I'd add Breakfast of Champions to the list as well. Vonnegut is amazing.
     
  10. fps

    fps Kit

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    Love both these picks.

    Another slightly left-field one perhaps, but Metaphors We Live By is an academic-ish textbook which really helped me understand a lot more about life, society and people.
     
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    If you liked Infinite Jest, definitely read some Thomas Pynchon. "The Crying of Lot 49" is a great introduction because, while otherwise trademark Pynchon, it's extremely short; after that, "Gravity's Rainbow" is his masterpiece, but "V" is amazing and maybe a hair more accessible, and for his newer stuff I just read and enjoyed "Bleeding Edge."
     
  12. Unleash The Fury

    Unleash The Fury SS.org Regular

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  13. Zender

    Zender Tinkering, please hold.

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    - Your money or your life. Really struck home with three very simple financial rules I now apply at all times: 1) Track every penny 2) Spend less than you earn 3) Pay yourself first.
    In short, this means keeping a track of all your incomes and spendings, so you know what is going on. This is also a prerequisit for the second point. Make sure that there is always more comming than there is going out. And the last one is optional; Every paycheck, some 15% of my net income goes towards a savings account/investings, not to be touched. The rest is what I consider my true income, and I spend no more than that each month.

    - Zen in the art of archery. My first book about Zen, and certainly not the last. over the years I've read dozens, and have picked up zazen meditation along the way for a few years. That helped me get through University, and is still helping me (read 'Zen Guitar') in life daily.

    - The Guitar Handbook (Ralph Deyner). The first piece of guitar literature I ever picked up. Safe to say it snowballed into a big impact. I took it along to my first teacher about a decade ago, he's been including it in the "Welcome package" to all his new students ever since and as far as I know (we lost touch) is still doing so.

    - Leo Babauta's The Power of Less. Combine this with the other books and you might be getting the main idea here. This book is about minimalism, and avoiding the non-essentials to have more time to spend on the stuff that _is_ important.

    - Peter Ralston's The Principles of Effortless Power. Written by a martial artist, describing key elements in training and awareness. I've since trained in Cheng Hsin (his art) for a few years, and have read just about all his books, those on conciousness in paticular are great, but take a long time to understand and a lifetime to understand fully (heavy Zen component in there). Although these days I train in Krav Maga (going for P3 in three weeks), I still consider what I learned there to be essential in my development.
     

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