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mathsphysicsnormally's avatar

What books have completely changed the way you think?

Asked by mathsphysicsnormally (324points) January 8th, 2011

What was the book and how did it change your view?

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15 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon.

It taught me to look at the world backwards and ask “why not?”

kenmc's avatar

On The Road by Jack Kerouac made me think of life as more of an adventure than anything else.

SavoirFaire's avatar

John Mackie’s Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong convinced me that morality is a construct that we build and refine rather than an objective fact we discover. I read it at a time when I was desperately trying to defend moral realism and kept running up against walls. Mackie showed me that I was actually disproving my own thesis all along.

Richard Joyce’s The Myth of Morality further solidified this view, and gave me stronger ways of defending it. But Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals helped point the way toward a more useful construct than the one with which I was raised.

majorrich's avatar

Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ had a significant impact on my general thoughts and feelings with regard to tactical and unconventional thought and use of forces. I bacame less idealistic in my dealings with strangers. It also made me a lot more suspicious of people when they ask me to do things and question motivations. It has saved me a lot of grief over the years, although I fear I may have also caused my share at times.

TexasDude's avatar

Alfred North Whitehead’s Religion in the Making helped me consolidate the way I view religion, spirituality, and science. “There is no shortcut to truth” is one of my favorite quotes and it comes from the book.

Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead convinced me to embrace my natural skills and talents instead of being ashamed of them or feeling guilty about them as I had been taught to do by so many people.

The Way of the Sufi by Idries Shah also greatly influenced my spiritual beliefs.

Finally, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower influenced the way I view my youth, relationships, and emotions.

flutherother's avatar

“The Way and its Power” by Arthur Waley which gave me my philosophy of life.

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faye's avatar

A Shirley MacLaine(sp) autobiography I found at the bus depot. I have to read Fountainhead again. People comment on it but it made no impact on me many years ago.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Growing up, the Little House on the Prairie books had a big influence on my life, which I believe continues to this day.

iamthemob's avatar

The History of Sexuality: Volume 1 by Michel Foucault.

It undermined any concept I had in universal social truth. Not in a nihilistic way – but I know that I can’t accept anything without critically breaking it apart and building it back up again.

In the end, I can’t say honestly (although I do sometimes because it becomes necessary at times to make claims that are important) that anything is the right answer. I can honestly say “This is what we all agree on and will not be unproven and therefore is true” (e.g., 2+2=4) or “This is the best that we know how to do it, it seems, for now.”

snowberry's avatar

In the Days of Poor Richard, by Irving Bacheller It if an out of print book, and it changed my total outlook on life.

WhenAllLightDies's avatar

Jamie Olivers 30-Minute-Meals.

It gives me more time for activities.

True story.

mathsphysicsnormally's avatar

Not actually a book but a bunch of email of what was in his book.

Marius Panzarella – dating secrets revealed
I started reading his emails close after being rejected by someone I really liked and having no other luck with girls, his emails have helped me accept myself, understand women more and relationships more.

faye's avatar

@snowberry this is available on Project Gutenburg.

answerjill's avatar

He’s Just Not That Into You. Made me realize that he is just not that into me. Time and time again.

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