Tuesday, July 01, 2008

God speed all the bakers at dawn

Lifehacker asked its readers to identify the books that changed their lives. Results are here. No huge surprises, the books fall out into religion (the Bible and perhaps Ayn Rand?,) political/philosophical (Orwell, Dawkins and Rand) and geeky (lots of sci-fi). I have nothing against any of these books and have read many of them, but it would be another thing to say they changed your life. I've always been befuddled by the notion that a book might change my life. Never had I read a book that would fundamentally change my life and send me on a course I had not intended. I suppose there is the idea of inspiration, which many of them contain, but that seems to me to be the activation of latent tendencies.

Generally speaking if someone says to me "Read this book, it will change your life," I try to avoid it reading it all costs. For one, it sounds culty. For another then I have to talk about it with them and they will try to gauge if my life has in fact changed.


John said...

In my case, I do have such a book, but I wouldn't call it culty and certainly applies only to certain circumstances: Paul Monette's National Book Award-winning autobiography, "Becoming a Man"

Tripp said...


Your comments make sense and the book looks quite good.