You’ve probably seen this floating around on social media: “Post seven books you love, one book per day, no explanations, no reviews, just covers. Each day you will ask a friend to take up the challenge.” I was challenged before and participated on Twitter. Since then I’ve been challenged a few more times, so I thought I’d make it into a blog post. Here are my seven books:
I do want to give a quick explanation. Yes, these are books I love, but I also chose the books that had the most significant impact. I read most of these as a teenager or in my early 20s. All of these books changed the way I looked at the world in some way. Someone (I can’t find the reference) called these types of books ‘earthquake books’ because they shake your foundation. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them all — I bet the Industrial Culture Handbook hasn’t aged well — but these books perfectly lined up with my age and what I was pondering at the time. These books are a window into what shaped me.
And books continue to shape. I was an avid reader the first 25 years of my life, but let it go as my eyesight worsened.1 I suffer from an eye condition called keratoconus. And I never warmed up to audiobooks — I don’t retain information through listening as I do with reading. About three years ago, thanks to improvements in available contact lenses and apps like Marvin for the iPad, I picked up the habit again. It wasn’t easy to get back on the book train — out of practice, I was a slow reader at first — but now I’m catching up on all the recommendations I’ve gathered over the years.
The seven books above are quite different than what I read now, but make sense in context. Presently I’m finishing Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others and Ryan Holiday’s new one, Stillness Is The Key, is on deck. I update my recent reads in this blog’s /now section.
Speaking of Ryan Holiday, his article How To Read More — A Lot More is a classic. It helped inspire me when I started reading again and was frustrated by my slow speed.
And check out the podcast 3 Books, which is all about impactful books. Ryan Holiday is the guest on a recent episode. And Seth Godin was a guest a while back — I’ve heard Seth on a lot of podcasts, and this is my favorite of all his appearances.
PS – Oh, right — I’m supposed to challenge someone in return. I challenge you. Please reveal a book that impacted your life in the comments. I need new recommendations!
PPS – I’ll be attending MondoNYC in New York this Thursday and Friday. If you plan to be there, too, hit me up.