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Thread: Must Read Life Books

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Must Read Life Books

    I think that as planners, we tend to read a lot of different types of books. I know I just finished the book Total Money Make Over by Dave Ramsey, and started reading Leadership by Rudolph Giuliani. Both books are very different in topic but I think of both as “Life Books” or books that could have a positive influence on my life. Others include self help books, the chicken soup series, and the bible.

    What other “Life Books” have you read, and would recommend?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I don't read non-fiction except for cookbooks. The best books I've ever read, influencing my life, hmmm.. the Southern Living yearly cookbooks (can't go wrong with these), The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and Nancy Drew when I was in elementary school (good role model, I guess).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I've read far too much for one book to have an impact. I really like Hemmingway though.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    It could be a very long list. Start with almost everything written by Mark Twain. Add a couple works of philosophy - Plato's "Republic" and Roussou's "The Social Contract." Round it out with a couple works of non-fiction, including Jonathan Hale's "The Old Way of Seeing" and John McPhee's "The Control of Nature."
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Anything by Carl Hiaason.

    Most things by Elaine or Hans Pagels.

    Guns, Germs, and Steel - a good history of everything.

    Collected works of Gerard Manley Hopkins

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    "LIFE BOOKS"? It would be nice if life came with an instruction manual --- wouldn't it.

    Books that changed my life or at least the way I look at things. HMMMMM?

    The Souls of Black Folks - W.E.B. DuBois
    The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    The End of Nature - McKibben
    Schrub - Molly Ivins (Oh wow, he's really a bigger asshole and idiot than I expected)
    The Geography of Nowhere - OUR VERY GOOD FRIEND.

    Self help books? The only one I need is --- How to pick up women -- in only 35 easy steps with a complete guide to the 16,789,904,445,332 different scenarios. It's 2:37 am CST. Good night.



    11
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Close to life instruction manuals -- The Book, I prefer the NIV; and the Boy Scout Handbook.

    The Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis
    The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

    I like Cardinal's selection of John Mc Phee's "The Control of Nature."
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    "Lord of the Rings" (read about seven times) - Provides life lesson on good versus evil, with final focus that even when you eliminate the evil, you change.

    "The Stand" - Quite scary book that shows what can happen when you, for the sake of developing the weapons of war, create horrors that can end the world. Maybe more of an end-of-life lesson.

    "A History Of The Russian Revolution" - Life lesson here is that people will do horrible things to each other in the name of country, Czar (President?), religion, culture, economics.

    "Fly With The Buffaloes" - Business book with a life lesson that people are the best asset that a business can have. Very motivating.

    The books of Kurt Vonegut, with his unusual approach to war, death, sex. Very moving and can be dangerously cynical.

    "Cider House Rules" - Even though a novel, this is the best look at the two (2) different viewpoints on abortion that I have ever read. The life lesson here is that nothing in your head's thoughts and feelings is "set in stone"......views that differ from your's may indeed be more correct or appropriate than your's.

    Probably more books that offer life lessons.

    Bear In The Cradle
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian sisterceleste's avatar
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    I like books about the Depression and movies too...To Kill a Mockingbird, Oh Brother Where art Thou... Listened to my grandfather tell me stories on how he kept the family and extended family working and fed. These stories were good "Life" stories for me in showing people's integrity during hard times.
    You darn tootin', I like fig newtons!

  10. #10
         
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    Fountainhead - Ayn Rand; dont necessarily agree with the philoshophy but interesting book nonetheless
    and am currently readin Bill's (Clinton) Autobiography

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I think "The Grapes of Wrath" and "One Hundred Years of Solitude" would be at the top of the list for me.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Having recently been to a "power within" sminar, to see lance armstrong speak, plus a whack of self help people, I can honestly say, I have no intention of EVER picking up or reading one of their books.

    Here is a list of books I consider to be must reads

    1) maus by Art Spiegelman. A clear presentation and understanding of the issues of being raised by holocaust survivors and suicide in a family. Pulitzer prize winning.

    2) I'll second To Kill Mockingbird. Only book I read in HS that I actually enjoyed. Own a copy of it.

    3) Any of Heinlein's juveniles. Taken for when they were written, the moral values and commentary still stand up today. ie to be a functional member of society you need to be educated and have a trade.

    4) Any number of books that examine and explore the thoughts of Maimonides.

    5) I'll also second "geography of nowhere". even though he has gone askew/militant of the message and ideas presented, it is a good read.

    6) Any book that makes you think and contemplate and then act on becoming a better person. And by better person, i don't necessarily mean wealthier.
    Last edited by donk; 08 Nov 2004 at 8:01 PM.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  13. #13
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I just read a Heinlein book, The Sixth Column. It was one of the most racist things I've ever read. They had a gun that could be configured to only kill asians.

  14. #14
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. A must-read for every planner, IMO.

    All Quiet on the Western Front by E. M. Remarque. Perhaps the finest anti-war novel ever written. The Road Back and Three Comrades document the early and middle-post Great War years in Germany.

    Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg. One of the few pieces of fiction I've read in the last 15 years that has stuck with me. The movie, alas, sncked.

    Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

    Three Years Before the Mast by (?). American adventure and all true.
    Je suis Charlie

  15. #15
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Off-topic:


    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    I just read a Heinlein book, The Sixth Column. It was one of the most racist things I've ever read. They had a gun that could be configured to only kill asians.
    You won't like farnham's freehold then. 6th column is one of my favourites, but not one that I would suggest to new readers for the very reason you mention.

    As noted, review when they were written(1950's) and examine what the classes and races of people actually signified in that context and review the philosophy behind the "priesthood" and inclusion within it as presented in the book and I think you'll have a different view. Or imagine the Asians as alien slavers and see how you react.

    EDIT ADDITION

    I have given this even more thought and can think of a few books that are classics that appear racist now. Mark Twain's and Charles Dickens' would be two. I would put heinlein's total body of work in line with theirs and when read as a whole the comments related to racism, sexism and jingoism are not ther when you take the time to understand the man who wrote them (disabled naval officer - TB, engineer, rare blood type, ran for congress, supporter of the sciences, divorced twice, nudist...) . Maybe in 25 years, once he has been dead for a bit longer people will review his writing in a different light.

    The saddest story i've ever read is what if Heinlein had not caught TB. how would the world have turned out.

    Last edited by donk; 08 Nov 2004 at 4:36 PM.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  16. #16
    (for now) Frozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    reading both 1984 and A Brave New Wolrd are very important.

    They describe two forms of dystopia. They make you think about the nature of dystopia and require you to think about which would be better or worse.
    Last edited by mendelman; 08 Nov 2004 at 4:30 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    I don't get to read nearly as much as I would like. But my favorite book is An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. It's a lengthy 700+ pages long, and in actuality much larger (as the books tells the same story from different points of view) and you find yourself going back and re-reading how different people retell the same events.

    Two other favorites of mine are House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein.

  18. #18
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    reading both 1984 and A Brave New Wolrd are very important to read.

    They give two describe forms of dystopia. They make you think about the nature of dystopia and require you to think about which would be better of worse.
    That gets an amen here. I wrote an 18 page paper in my college english class about those two books. It was one of the few english asignments that I actually enjoyed! Fahrenheit 451 isn't bad, though it doesn't have near the symbolism and is not as complex a read.

    The book of "Proverbs" out of the Bible, whether you're religious or not.

    If you can stomach it, I really believe that people should read some of the old political philosophies at some point (Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, etc.).

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ecofem's avatar
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    anything by Douglas Coupland... All Familes Are Psychotic... Generation X... etc.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ecofem
    anything by Douglas Coupland... All Familes Are Psychotic... Generation X... etc.
    Check out Hey Nostradamus, his best work since Shampoo Planet. Stayed up until 3 am reading it then called in sick teh next morning to finish it.

    His souvenir's of canada image books are neat too. Saw one of teh displays at a gallery in TO.

    Rumour has it he has a new book coming out soon.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ecofem's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Check out Hey Nostradamus, his best work since Shampoo Planet. ...

    Rumour has it he has a new book coming out soon.

    I've read Hey Nostradamus. It's hard for me to pick out a fav Coupland book. They all have their own unique charms. Microserfs was pretty good, too.

    As for the new book... I've heard that, too. Not sure when, though...

  22. #22
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" and Life on the Mississippi" and probably "Roughing It" as well.

    "To Kill a Mockingbird" a seemingly flawless novel

    "The Caine Mutiny." another seemingly flawless novel

    "Lonesome Dove", if only to spend days in the company of Gus McRae

    "Seven Habits of Highly Effectve People" a good kick in the pants, do things better kind of book.

    "The River Why" just because it is fun!

    Anything by John MCPhee because that man knows how to write. He makes any subject interesting.

    "The World Accordingto Garp."

    "A Pirate Looks At Fifty," by Jimmy Buffett, because his life is so way cooler than yours.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by donk
    Off-topic:




    You won't like farnham's freehold then. 6th column is one of my favourites, but not one that I would suggest to new readers for the very reason you mention.

    As noted, review when they were written(1950's) and examine what the classes and races of people actually signified in that context and review the philosophy behind the "priesthood" and inclusion within it as presented in the book and I think you'll have a different view. Or imagine the Asians as alien slavers and see how you react.

    EDIT ADDITION

    I have given this even more thought and can think of a few books that are classics that appear racist now. Mark Twain's and Charles Dickens' would be two. I would put heinlein's total body of work in line with theirs and when read as a whole the comments related to racism, sexism and jingoism are not ther when you take the time to understand the man who wrote them (disabled naval officer - TB, engineer, rare blood type, ran for congress, supporter of the sciences, divorced twice, nudist...) . Maybe in 25 years, once he has been dead for a bit longer people will review his writing in a different light.

    The saddest story i've ever read is what if Heinlein had not caught TB. how would the world have turned out.

    Oooh, I loved Farnham's Freehold. Still have the Heinleins I got in hs/college. Must re-read.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by sisterceleste
    I like books about the Depression and movies too...To Kill a Mockingbird, Oh Brother Where art Thou... Listened to my grandfather tell me stories on how he kept the family and extended family working and fed. These stories were good "Life" stories for me in showing people's integrity during hard times.
    Don't forget the Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love. This one has the 3 goddesses looking for a parade where we can wear sequins, platinum wigs, and elbow-length gloves.

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