Influential Books and Media

As a journal for myself, and maybe something that would interest others, this is an account of the books and media that have been the most influential for me.

  • The 85% Solution  
    • The author of this book did a seminar of sorts for a former employer.  The things I learned about myself and ideas I learned for looking at the world during that seminar have been one of the influential experiences of my life.  This much shorter book of her’s summarizes most of that seminar.  In short, the message is that when you take ownership and responsibility for the outcome of your choices, actions, and behaviors, you’ll be happier and more successful than if you were to scapegoat unfavorable outcomes as thought they are outside of your control.
  • Coffee is for Closers
    • This scene from Glengarry Glen Ross seems harsh, but it’s the truth.  The world cares about what you can do for it.  You don’t need to be a servile sycophant, and it’s not healthy to persist in a lopsided relationship, but I really believe that when you focus on what you can offer others, you get the most of out what you want from them in return.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People  
    • People like to talk about themselves.  The best way to get people to like you is to get them talking about themselves.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance  
    • This one’s hard to summarize, so I’ll just borrow a review from Amazon, “an illustration of how we can unify the cold, rational realm of technology with the warm, imaginative realm of artistry. As in Zen, the trick is to become one with the activity, to engage in it fully, to see and appreciate all details–be it hiking in the woods, penning an essay, or tightening the chain on a motorcycle.”
  • The Grapes of Wrath     
    • This book as had two affects on my opinions about modern life.  First, debt equals slavery and risk.  Second, those who are so concerned about immigrants and less fortunate people, and what they perceive those groups taking from them, are caught up in a bunch of FUD.  I believe the vast majority of newcomers to a place just want to find a way to make life better for their families and themselves.  There’s plenty of resources in this world available to anyone who’s determined to put forth the effort.  There’s no reason to get in the way of that out of fear.
  • The Total Money Makeover   
    • Debt is not a tool.  It’s a shackle that robs you of your freedom the same way addition and immoral behavior can.
  • Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers
    • I have been so fortunate to not have been called into wartime service.  I can hardly imagine how trying that experience was , and I’m very grateful for those that have made that sacrifice.

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