AOM recently had a post that really caught my attention, like a lot of their’s do. This particular one was a list of books the founder, Brett, read more than once all the way through. Some for inspiration, some for additional clarification, and some he said that he was “ready” the second time.
It got me thinking about what I would say too. I decided to make a brief list and NOT include any books I had read more than once because of school, either high school or college. I mean, like my son reminds me, I am an English major.
Here is what I came up with:
The Bible – God
A lot of people ask the question, “what is the greatest book you have ever read” and without fail a lot in my world would say, “well besides the Bible? Then…”
I do that too. There was a pretty significant stretch of my young adult life where I read the Bible cover-to-cover every year for several years in a row. I honestly believed then and still believe today that even if you aren’t a Christian, it is the single most important book ever to be written. Great history about two great peoples (Jews and the founders of the Christian church), principles, nuggets, inspiration, death, sex, conspiracy and of course, redemption and truth. There is simply nothing like it.
Some teach that reading it cover-to-cover is a great way. Others would say in chronological order, and even more would say to “choose your own adventure.” One of my favorites is a “mini read” which is to read one Proverb, especially if you are a man, per day. Why men? Well Solomon wrote the Proverbs to young men and it is LOADED with good stuff. There are 31 Proverbs and guess what? We have 30-31 days a month! If you are feeling awesome, add 5 Psalms. Each month if you read a one Proverb and 5 Psalms, life is probably a little better. I have tried all of these and they all are fun ways to read it.
I personally feel that everyone should read the Bible through at least one time, regardless of faith. It has literally transformed the entire world in which we currently live. The three biggest religions have heritage in the Old Testament and countries and cultures have literally been shaped because of it. Plus, and most importantly for me, it is TRUTH. Shall I continue…?
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
My first blog post, ever, was about this book. I am not sure I can find it as I wrote it on TypePad (remember that?).
I will look for it.
I can’t find it…BUT I remember that writing about this book was the first “bloggy thing” I tried to do.
When people ask me the greatest book I have ever read, and then say “after the Bible?” I absolutely say this one. Hands down. There is no other book more powerful on capturing what human’s can and can’t do than this.
The first half is set in WWII and talks about the author and his experience in the horrendous conditions of a concentration camp. The deplorable scene of men (mostly) who overcame so much by simply believing that they would one day be reunited with their loved ones. Frankl discovered that we have that thing that we human’s can tap into to find that strength and resolve. What motivates us, what literally keeps us alive, how, and what we fight for and so much more.
The second half covers the takeaways from that experience. Frankl came home eventually (undefeated World War champs – USA!) and built a successful career in Psychology. I don’t want to be the guy who spoils it for you if you haven’t read it but much of the book can be boiled down to this: Everything in life comes down to how you handle circumstances and that you have the freedom to decide how to respond and lastly, if you know why, it doesn’t matter how.
How to Win Friend’s and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
I first heard of this book from my dad believe it or not. He had said he read it, but sometimes I wonder…JK. Since it has been promoted by tons of people before and since, I thought I should read it too.
Funny story, one of the local Starbucks I used to frequent when I was younger had a barista who had a surly attitude. She was sweet one minute and super grumpy the next so since I am a smart aleck, I used to say when she was crabby, “you ever read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People?” She would say, “no.” I would respond, “I didn’t think so…” Mean I know but hey maybe 20 years later she had!?
Anyway it isn’t like it sounds, although somehow it is. It isn’t a book to help you get more friends, per se, rather to help us change ourselves in a way to be more friendly, communicate better, and thereby make our world a little better around us.
The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino
One of the first “self-help” books I ever read and I have probably read at least 3-4 times. Short, simple, and with a powerful allegory, this book is quite simply one of the very best and should be in EVERYONE’S library. I gave a copy to Nate when he went to college to help start his library. You don’t have to be in sales or run a company to get something out of this book. This book launched Og Mandino as one of the greatest “self-help” teachers ever and has been read millions of times.
Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
So this is one of my guilty pleasure reads. I don’t typically read books that have so much controversial material but Anthony Bourdain’s breakout book captivated and entertained me more than a lot of books had.
Full of the insight to some of the nasty bits of the restaurant industry, drugs, fraud, sketchy people, politics, questions with few answers, survivors, heroes and goats, and even though not all bad, it is all nicely packed in his anecdotal insight into the restaurant world. I had worked in restaurants and although the ones I worked with were not high end (sorry Tim), I had been around enough to identify with a lot of what he was talking about.
If you like food, food culture, and sometimes enjoy a little dirt, then you should definitely read it.
I am sure there are a few more that I have read more than once but I thought this list was fun and a little insightful for me for sure, and maybe for you, one of my five readers?