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This is a question This book changed my life

The Goat writes, "Some books have made a huge impact on my life." It's true. It wasn't until the b3ta mods read the Flashman novels that we changed from mild-mannered computer operators into heavily-whiskered copulators, poltroons and all round bastards in a well-known cavalry regiment.

What books have changed the way you think, the way you live, or just gave you a rollicking good time?

Friendly hint: A bit of background rather than just a bunch of book titles would make your stories more readable

(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:11)
Pages: Latest, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, ... 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

a few to be getting along with
'Iron In The Soul' Jean-Paul Sartre taught me it's ok to think my own thoughts

'The Gormenghast Trilogy' Mervyn Peake taught me there is no limit to the imagination or how much you can know/learn

'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' Robert M. Pirsig taught me everything can be explained if you spend a little time working it out

'The Foundation Trilogy' Isaac Asimov taught me it's all happened before and it will again and there's fuck all we can do about it
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:54, 8 replies)
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Gave the world Ignatius J. Reilly - who i imagine epitomises many b3tards.

To prevent my own tardiness and procrastination being preserved forever in a closed qotw - please make do with a quote which suggests exactly one of the myriad of ways Confederacy changed my life.

"I find, dear reader, that I have grown accustomed to the hectic pace of office life... I have succeeded in initiating several work-saving methods. I have taken to arriving at the office one hour later than I am expected. Therefore, I am far more rested and refreshed when I do arrive, and I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make every chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality. My innovation in connection with the filing system must remain secret for the moment, for it is rather revolutionary..."
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:50, 7 replies)
magazines....
Bizare, opened my eyes to the world as it is, rather than as they would have you believe! (oooh i sound like a conspiracy theorist) but seriously, for finding out that there really is a lot of crazy shit out there it was almost as influential to my formative years ( form mid teens to early 20s) as was the internet!
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:49, 1 reply)
Supernature, by Lyall Watson
At age about 12, this sent me off on a multi-year dead end in my intellectual development. Psychic powers, life after death, pyramid energy, UFOs, von Daniken - nothing was too weird to be believed "because you can't *prove* it isn't true".

All bollocks. Luckily, amongst the pseudoscience, I kept learning the real stuff.

Thanks heavens for BBC TV's "Horizon" programme. The hatchet job they did on von Daniken set me back on the road to reality again.

Hmm. Now I'm all worked up. I think I may go and picket Boots now, for selling homeopathic claptrap.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:47, Reply)
Not a book but a magazine
When my friend first showed me his dad's badly hidden copies of Playboy aged 12, I realised the joys of naked ladies.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:47, Reply)
Rainbow 6 by Tom Clancy
...Ever since i read it i've been right obsessed with covert ops and shit...
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:47, 1 reply)
The Power of Now
A friend of mine explained that I was obsessed with the future, and recommended "The Power of Now" to help me appreciate the moment.

When I got to Waterstones I read the back, and it explained that the book has sold over 2million copies! And it cost £8.99.

In a flash I realised how the author, Eckhart Tolle had found a meaning in life - he had become richer than Croesus and his future was therefore well and truly sorted.

I made a decision there and then, and didn't buy the book. Instead, I bought 3 bottles of cheap red wine. So although I didn't change my life that day, I did change my evening.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:45, Reply)
The Barefoot Doctor's Handbook for the Urban Warrior: Spiritual Survival Guide
This book helped me organize many random thoughts that had been floating round my mind for several years. I once figured out this religion thing and came to the conclusion that everyone should have their own personalised religion. When I read "Handbook for the Urban Warrior", it explained that this was similar to the philosophy of Tao-ism. It helped build a more solid framework for my existing thoughts.

And to top it off, it's an entertaining read.

Length? 256 pages (had to get that out the way)
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:45, 3 replies)
How I became a philosopher
When people ask me what I do for a living, I love to tell them that I'm a philosopher. Partly because it sounds quite cool, and partly because it's true.

To what do I owe this career? It's the Oxford Latin Course, pt. 2. It was from this that I had, aged 14, to translate a passage involving Quintus (thinly modelled on the poet Horace) going to the forum to buy a copy of de republica. This was my first contact with Plato, and I wanted to know more about him. A couple of years later, I bought The Republic to read. I didn't understand it at all.

However, my A-level European history paper covered the Enlightenment, and I could remember enough about Plato (and, by that point, More) to be able to carry off a discussion about Voltaire, Montesquieu and the political thought underpinning the "enlightened despotism" of the Great Elector of Brandenburg Prussia and of Tsar Peter the Great; at the same time, it was being suggested that I might read PPE at university - which I duly did.

By the end of my A-levels, I'd re-read Plato, and had dipped into Scruton, Marx and Nietzsche. Scruton was a bad idea because he's a clown; Marx was a bad idea because Das Kapital is long and boring; Nietzsche was a bad idea because I was a neophyte. Nevertheless - I was hooked on philosophy. I did flirt with entering the real world for a while - but much preferred academia.

Gradually, I was drawn towards ethics, and specifically towards applied ethics, until (via a diversion into Heidegger and meta-ethics for my PhD) I got where I am now - to wit, an office in Manchester.

And that is how I became a philosopher. All due to part 2 of the Oxford Latin Course.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:44, 9 replies)
The Celestine Prophecy
By James Redfield. This book made me change my outlook on how the world and the nature around you can be perceived and give you energy. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Celestine_Prophecy
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:44, 12 replies)
not a book an author
I had the misfortune of being sent to a boarding school because my older brother had gone and proved to be a fucking super star! literally when i arrived as a third former this tit was captain of the firsts rugby team and head of house, praeposter etc etc. Unfortunately we were nothing alike and i preceeded to get suspended, and countless detentions and letters home. Until eventually I was expelled (a massive 14 months later) Now the headmaster was a great guy and when he expelled me he sat me down for about an hour and we just talked about the future and my attitude, at the time i was very much throw punches first ask questions later, in fact one of my suspensions was for punching a sixth former. He gave me a book called legend by David Gemmell, it was heroic fantasy and not really my scene but he said i would like it so i gave it a go. Approximately 11/12 years later i own every book by the guy and he is my favourite author. Sadly he passed away recently before he had the chance to finish the third book in a wonderful series about Troy. His wife ended up finishing it and its fantastic.

I know a lot of you will know this author but for those who dont. He has a way of writing which makes you identify and empathise with the characters that is second to none. It's not all goblins and dragons either it's very character focused and they are all bloody good reads. Sorry for waffling but this is the best QOTW i've been on since i joined B3ta. In fact expect multiple posts from mr pires.

I also have a signed copy of my own autobiography, 12 quid oxfam. !!
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:44, 5 replies)
also...
Passing your driving test



this one helped me out two weeks ago and now I can drive :)
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:43, 1 reply)
Birdsong
by Sebastian Faulks

Amazing book and an amazing author (not just becuase he has almost the same last name as mine).

Really moving and extremely well written. If you're into WW1 then you have to read this book. If you aren't into WW1 then read it the fuck anyway.







It also has a sex scene
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:42, 8 replies)
The bible
When I read the bible, it let Jesus into my heart, into my very being. I became enlightened!











pfffhahaha sod that bollocks, I fell asleep.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:42, 7 replies)
Not just one, a series
Specifically, the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (may he rest in peace). Reading this series inspired me to write, starting with fan fiction on a board 4 years ago, called Brokenworld for any that may know it. It was there that I met the love of my life, the most beautiful, wonderful, caring, sweet, funny, silly etc woman I could ever have hoped to know. So thank you very much Mr Jordan.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:41, 5 replies)
This book explained my life
Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind.

Only once have I been in a state of mania extreme enough to frighten me. By this I mean psychosis. I'm discounting the occasions spent crouching in a corner communicating with god having eaten hash cookies that left everyone else merely chilled out. It took me years to realise that full-blown hallucinations on cannabis were not the norm amongst my group of friends.

Altered perceptions without the use of drugs were fun at first. I couldn't stop moving: running, jumping, fidgeting, twitching. I saw brighter, clearer and more saturated colours than anyone else; I heard and felt so many intricate layers of music that it was too painful to listen to it anymore; I could make huge mental connections - leaps and bounds - and see patterns that no one else could see; I could take on the world - and god knows I tried.

My work began to suffer. I couldn't sit still for longer than five minutes at a time. I spent my whole day at work pacing my office, surfing the web, writing page after page of elaborate schemes then abandoning them in favour of a new idea. I knew something wasn't quite right and let myself be persuaded to revisit a counsellor I had been seeing during a previous bout of depression. She questioned me about how things were, and I felt I was mentally running rings around her. I spent much of the session counting snowflakes falling past the window.

It came to a head when I found myself hiding in a dark room because I couldn't understand what my colleagues were saying. I swore they were speaking some other language. It wasn't English - it couldn't have been. It sounded nothing like it. It didn't sound like anything I recognised. The carpet, a vile industrial mixture of reds and purples, was freaking me out - I was at the peril of someone else's very bad decorating tastes. Every purple and red object in the room was linked to that carpet. They were all jumping out at me, lines between them, until all I could see was red, red, red, purple, and it was sensory overload. I sat under a table in the dark room until two friends with an understanding of what was happening found me and hauled me to the doctor. He calmly told me that I was high and wrote a prescription for tranquillisers and a referral to a psychiatrist. I can't thank him enough.

It was one of those friends - also bipolar - who recognised the symptoms in me. He told me about Kay Redfield Jamison's book. It's her memoir of her life with manic depression and how she, an academic psychologist, both researched and suffered from this illness. I identified with every single page and I cried my way through it. It gave me answers and it gave me hope. It presented knowledgeable discussions tempered with personal experience. It''s beautifully written and it's moving and compelling.

I have an uneasy co-existence with my manic depression. Lithium works for me and I've been pretty stable for a couple of years now. I've been so low that I've tried to die. I've been so high that I can't function. Being bipolar is not about an inconvenient oscillating mood. It can be a crippling and life-threating illness. One of the hardest things is knowing where the illness starts and where my own personality ends.

There are degrees of mania, and when I was hypomanic - high, but functioning - I was so very happy. Mood stabilisers might not have made me a different person in the eyes of my friends, but to me I am a poor, pale and boring copy of what I used to be. I would like the highs again, just the gentle ones, but I'd never make it through another low. I'm damn pleased that someone else out there understands it.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:40, 9 replies)
Drafting Financial Statements (2008 International Accounting Standards)
I'm required to read and completely understand this entire tome. Yes, it's just as exciting as it sounds. I have 4 weeks to the exam. I still can't read more than 10 pages of it without falling into a brief coma.

Ditto for "Personal Taxation Computations (2007-8 standards).

Not much contribution from me this week, as I haven't read for pleasure in quite some time!
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:40, 4 replies)
The one the judge threw at me.

(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:39, Reply)
Primo Levi
If this is a man.

There is no need to explain this, if this book doesn't move you to your very core you must be dead inside.

Read it. Read it now.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:39, 5 replies)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Douglas Adams's masterpiece showed me just what the human imagination is capable of. When I first read it back in 1988, I was completely in awe of the products of Douglas Adams's imagination. It inspired me to try harder to think weirder thoughts. Even today, I think itís the best book ever.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:37, 6 replies)
The book that changed my life was....
The Readers Digest complete atlas of Great britain. I kept getting lost before but now I can find my way anywhere.

Bliss!
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:33, 2 replies)
Kama Sutra
Changed GoldenFanjita's Mum's life too ;p
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:31, Reply)
Bahgvad-Gita
and 'Chant and be happy' by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Changed my life and my outlook on life too with a huge positive way.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:29, Reply)
front page
it's all I'm aiming for today

Edit: 6th - no podium, no medals, no glory, bah.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:29, Reply)
Gah!
Just went for a cup of tea and look what happens!

Not first again!
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:29, Reply)
3? damn - fourth though happy to bow to BGBs claim to third
They've obviously been reading all the literary allusion and decided we're readers. Who'd have thought it?

Can't pick one book so will have a think and write about each as they occur.
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:27, Reply)
Third ! WOO!
Me
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:27, Reply)
First?
Cock!! Just pipped
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:26, Reply)
First!
Woo!

Edit: Suppose i should actually write about a book now... hmm...

I think the book that changed my life the most was probably (believe it or not) the B3TA Bumper Book of Sick Jokes...

I already had a purchased copy at home (excellent toilet reading), however once the PDF became available in one of the newsletters I realised that I would have to share these nuggets of wisdom with my co-workers...

Unfortunately, The IT department were not too happy when I e-mailed to a couple of friends... Outcome - Written warning for gross misconduct. Yes!

This made me realise that I worked with a bunch of humourless cunt-buckets who had nothing better to do than read other people's e-mail.

So, when my next One to One came around and my manager asked me what I'd been up to recently I replied with one of my favourite snippets from the bible of sick jokes "I saved a woman from being raped last night... I decided to stay home instead"...

That was three months ago... I now have a new job, earning 50% more than I was previously. The people are great, the work is interesting, and more importantly they have a small library here... There are 3 copies of the bumper bible in it...

I think I like it here...
(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:25, 1 reply)

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