10 Influential Books In My History

Because of a challenge from my long time online friend Sunny, I had to put together a list of 10 books that I feel were influential in my life and why. Unlike how some other folks might have done it, I chose books because of their significance, not necessarily because they were the best. In explaining that, on my list I have the first book that got me thinking a certain way or doing something specific without really naming the best book in a particular series.

Kit via Compfight

I think influence can be a different thing that “the best”, if you will. For instance, though many people say Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time, my favorite player, Wilt Chamberlain, made basketball change rules because of his dominance.

With that said, below are my top 10 influential books. The links… well, if you’re interested you can check the books out, and if you buy… I earn affiliate money. I think that’s fair! 🙂 Here we go:

1. Go Dog Go, Dr. Seuss. This wasn’t my first book but it’s the first book I actually remember reading on my own, which I still own, and loving it for not only its bright colors but because it taught me the words Constantinople and Timbuktu lol

2. The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass. In my preteens I was introduced to black history on a fluke and this was the first book I read on the subject. It changed the course of my life in realizing the legacy of black people in America.

3. Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card. My introduction into sci-fi other than Star Trek books, well written that became a 4-part series (5 if you count one book that concentrated on a different character from the original). I was surprised I got into it because I hadn’t read much fiction at the time; I have now because of it. It has to be good if I’m mentioning it, especially since Card turned out to be a homophobe…

4. Secrets Of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker. Not only a business motivational book but one that helps break down the barriers to what keeps people from having money in their life, even if they get rich a couple of times only to lose it all. It’s what helps me keep my eyes on the prize.

5. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki. I was already working on my own when I came across it and in a story form it helped me to see wealth in future terms as opposed to having and wanting things now.

6. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowlings. This is an odd choice because it’s actually the 5th book in the series. I didn’t know it was a series and I had no real idea what the entire story was about but after reading this one I went back and read the others in order, have read everyone by now, and continue reading them (actually listening to the recordings) over and over; I can’t think of any other books I’ve read more than three times. (the link here goes to a page to buy all 7 books)

7. Clemente!, Kal Wagenheim. Roberto Clemente is my favorite baseball player ever, but this was the first book I read on him. Since that time I not only have read every other book that’s come out about him, but it inspired me to start reading biographies of all sorts, athletes, musicians, presidents, scientists… whomever.

8. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I actually read this twice, once as a kid and once as an adult, and I’m glad I read it as an adult because it’s a much deeper book with a lot more truth and understanding than I could have taken in when I was much younger. Strange enough, in his way he predicted some of what’s going on now in the states.

9. The 100; a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael Hart. Very intriguing look at famous people (it’s about 20 years old now) and ranking them based on significance in historical consequences and not by popularity. Something that might intrigue some of you is that Muhammad is at #1, Jesus is at #3; try to figure out who’s at #2 (Neil deGrasse Tyson’s favorite person lol).

10. Feiffer’s Album, Jules Feiffer. This is the only other book I’ve read at least 3 times but it’s different than all the other books here. Feiffer was a political cartoonist for almost 50 years and his take on life, politics and presidents are both spot on and funny. Seeing Gerald Ford depicted with a little tin can cup on top of his head… classic! (unfortunately, this book’s out of print, so you might have to go to eBay to see if someone’s selling a copy)

There’s mine. As a meme, why not do the same thing on your blog and then let me know, or go ahead and share some of your favorite books here. As a blog topic, it’s one that will make you think, and it gets others thinking also. So, get ‘er done!

16 thoughts on “10 Influential Books In My History”

    1. Rummuser, they have this thing called copy and paste that takes the tedium out of things. 🙂 That’s what I basically did with this post rather than retype everything, and with it being on Facebook and my knowing that almost no one was going to see it, since it was a comment on someone else’s post there, it seemed to make pretty good sense to me. But if that tires you out… lol

  1. I have read two on your list and there are a couple more I am interested in looking at. Thank you Mitch.
    May I be so bold to suggest Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon? Perhaps you have already read it?

  2. I read a biography of Clemente just last year. I think the author was Maraniss. When I was a kid, we used to go to Shea Stadium a lot, and I remember one game when the Mets were playing the Pirates. We had seats down the right field line, and there was Clemente standing less than a hundred feet away from where I was sitting. It didn’t seem possible. He threw a runner out at third base, and made it look effortless.

    1. I own that book also Charles, and it was a great and comprehensive read. How many books do you read about people from, well, kind of our generation who were that good as far as people goes? That’s why he’s my favorite.

  3. Nice selection of books in there Mitch, I have read a few myself, such as Ender’s Game and Harry Potter, I think my 10 would be mainly Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and a Collection of comic books 😉

    1. Karen, I have Ender’s Game on my list of favorite books but it wasn’t an influential book since I’d read other books of its type beforehand. I went to look up Terry Pratchett and I haven’t read anything by him. As for comic books… well, we’ll just let that go. 😉

  4. Nope, not into memes but I can tell you a few of my favourite books here and now. Weirdstone Of Brisingamen, I think that is what its called. I read it when I was a kid. All of Robert Heinleins’s books, especially Stranger In A Strange land where I learned just because a house is red on one side does not mean it’s a red house 😉

    I also loved The Hobbit and the Lord Of The Rings.

    1. Pete, I never heard of the first book but once I saw when it was written I understood why. lol The only Heinlein book I’ve read was Starship Troopers, and that was after seeing the movie because the movie made no sense. I couldn’t get through any of the Tolkein books so I have to be glad that they came out in movie form, although I still didn’t understand any of the Lord of the Rings movies overall. I have to admit that the first two Hobbit movies have explained a few things that pertain to the first set of movies.

  5. I was a kid when I read it Mitch. What are you trying to imply my old friend who is as old as I am. lol

    I haven’t watched the Hobbit yet. The funny thing about it is The Hobbit was a normal sized novel and they stretched it out to 2 movies! Incredible.

    1. Well, supposedly they found notes he wrote that weren’t in the book and added them into the movie. No matter really; no one does great treatments from books anyway, as it’s virtually impossible to do.

      And yes, you’re old… I’m not commenting on my age at all. lol

  6. Hard to believe, but I’ve only read one book on your list: Autobiography of Malcolm X. I’m embarrassed that I never picked up the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass–I will have to rectify that soon.

    Always loved Jules Feiffer’s cartoons, as well. I think we’ve discussed before the book “Clemente” by David Mariniss, one of the best biographies I’ve ever read–on any subject.

    1. Glad you checked out the list Phil. Hey, I’d read 2 of the books on your list; I’m way ahead of you! lol I know you probably think of the Harry Potter series as kid’s books but trust me, after the first two they’re anything but that… and quite compelling (I should know; I’m reading the entire series for the 9th or 10th time again right now lol).

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