Occasionally people will post a list of five or ten or twenty or a hundred influential books and ask other people to think about what has influenced them. Here’s my list.
Not being an intellectual heavyweight, my list is mostly fiction. Nor can I say these reformed my thinking, rather they shaped it as it is, from various times in my life.
1. C. S. Lewis – The Screwtape Letters – because how easily we want to delude ourselves as to our motives and actions.
2. Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities – because any drunken wreck can have a moment of glory.
3. Machiavelli – Discourses – because politics hasn’t changed in a very long time.
4. Twain – Huckleberry Finn – because Loyalty Counts.
5. Lee – To Kill A Mockingbird – because friendship is forever, and doesn’t depend on externalities.
6. Hugo – Les Miserables – because any sinner can be saved, only the impenitently self-righteous are damned.
7. Montaigne – Essays – because a gentleman should behave in a gentlemanly manner.
8. Epictetus – Discourses and Enchiridion – because it is the front porch to life.
9. Nietzsche – Beyond Good and Evil – because it asked why do we assign the values we do.
10. Orwell – The Road to Wigan Pier – because so little has changed since.
11. Jefferson – The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson – because Jefferson is not who people think he was.
12. Cicero — On Duties – because we need to be reminded of what we ought to do.
13. Aristotle — Nicomachean Ethics and Politics – because humans are social beings, and how we behave affects others.
14. Orwell (again) — 1984 – because the totalitarian temptation is always with us, “Picture a boot stamping on a human face forever.”
15. Huxley – Brave New World – because not all dystopias are brutal and violent, some wrapped in cotton candy.
16. Hoffer – The True Believer – because people en masse are not very bright, and can be manipulated.
17. Heinlein – Starship Troopers – because sometimes you have to fight, and need to know why.
18. Franklin – Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin – because certain lives have important lessons for the rest of us.
19. Macauley –Horatius at the Bridge – because heroism deserves to be celebrated.
20. Kipling –Kim – because every young person needs a good mentor, sometimes more than one.
21. Doyle – A Study in Scarlet — because it helps to be aware of the world around us.
There are many others, and each individual person will have a list particular to them. These are books which influenced me, or which gave a great deal of enjoyment,.
I have lived thousands of years of time, and have traveled across entire galaxies of space. In books.