Mind-stretching books

A former student of mine recently dropped in when she was in town. As she left, she asked me to recommend some books I think she ought to read. I get this request regularly from students, so here’s a short list I put together off the top of my head. These books have stretched me and stuck with me over the years.
Art of living:
If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland – The sunniest, most encouraging book I’ve read. I’ve re-read it many times. It’s more about how to live than just how to write.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – Deep but completely accessible. Here’s the secret to life, and it’s surprisingly simple to understand but hard to achieve.
Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley – Fun book. The point is that your thoughts become the things of your life. Choose your thoughts wisely. Very practical strategies for living your dreams.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – Four simple but challenging agreements you should make with yourself to live an excellent life.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – A classic. A bit too much like a textbook early on, but all seven habits have influenced me in the many years since I first read it.
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson – This guy is my health guru. He’s crystallized the “paleo” approach to diet into a paradigm that really works for me. I dropped 15+ pounds immediately after following his advice and have kept it off for almost 2 years. Saturated fat is not the enemy. Processed foods, grains, and sugar are the true culprits in our diet woes. I follow his blog daily: http://www.marksdailyapple.com You should, too.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan – Pollan is the foremost writer in the “real food” movement. Also, I love his fun, little book, Food Rules. It’s only $7 on Amazon. We kept it on our coffee table for a while this year, and guests would pick it up and get lost in it instantly.
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris – Best biography I’ve ever read. Reads like a novel. Roosevelt’s life was fantastic. He was a weak, sickly kid who transformed his body and sharpened his mind throughout his life and had more adventures than 20 people combined.
Illusions by Richard Bach – The author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull (which is a magical little book in its own right) tells the story of a reluctant messiah/mechanic.
Anna KareninaWar and Peace by Tolstoy – The two greatest novels ever written. Tolstoy expresses things you’ve felt but could never put into words. Brilliant and worth the effort.
I, Claudius by Robert Graves – A historical fiction classic about the Roman Empire. It’s a page-turner. Intrigue galore and delightfully written.

3 thoughts on “Mind-stretching books

  1. Just bookmarked the post. I’ve been wondering what books to get into, so this is pretty timely for me. I already have War and Peace on my Kindle app, but I’m a little uneasy about reading it on the tiny phone screen. Can’t wait to start checking some of these off my reading list!

  2. Bamadog, You need an iPad. (Or a Kindle. They just cut their prices.) It would be painful to read Tolstoy on your phone. I’m loving my iPad for reading… well, I’m loving it for everything. It is easily the best “thing” I’ve ever had. Magical, indeed.

    Hope all is well in Denver. Congrats on your engagement. Thanks for the postcard to the VC. We announced it in staff meeting last week.

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