Which books have changed your life?


by - March 11th, 2008


We’re interested to know what books have ‘changed your life’ – have any books that you have read in the past had a profound effect on you? We’d like to know which ones. We may even try to build a Top 50 Most Influential Books at some time in the future…

For my part, these are some of the books that have been most memorable for me – it’s an eclectic bunch:

– Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson – This taught me to innovate and to be flexible. Failure comes to those who fail to embrace change and this is accelerated in the internet business.

– The Asterix series by Goscinny and Uderzo and Tintin series by Herge – I still read these books today even as a 33 year old. Although they are comic books, they fuelled my desire to read and taught me a little about history too.

– 1984 by George Orwell – I read this at school as a kid and found the book and the movie very disturbing – I am sure that this book will appear on many people’s ‘most influential’ lists. This book and Animal Farm, which I also read at school, has helped to shape my political views (I studied political science at uni)

– Gallipoli by Les Carlyon – I am an ex-Army officer and this book is a must read. There are probably more historically true accounts of the events at Gallipoli, but I found this book really compelling. Will definitely re-read this book prior to visiting Gallipoli, if I get the opportunity.

– Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – I borrowed this so many times from the primary school library that it has left an indelible mark on me.

– Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – simple learnings for people who want to become financially independent. The original book is the best and changed my mindset about life and finances.

– The Year of Living Dangerously by C.J. Koch – This was my first brush with the history and culture of Indonesia. I read it in Year 12. My interest was picqued and whilst in the Army I studied Bahasa Indonesia and became a linguist/interpreter and Indonesia specialist.

– The Crucible by Arthur Miller – another one that I read at school. I still quote from this play on occasions – a fart on you Thomas Putnam.

Well, I am interested to hear which books have impacted upon your life…


Connect with the Author:
Clayton Wehner (430 Posts)

7 Responses to “Which books have changed your life?”

  1. Mark Schipp Says:

    – The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins – I read this last year and found it convincing. It was the final step in my move away from Christianity.

  2. Lee Suter Says:

    “A taste of blackberries” and “Bridge to Terabithia” opened the door to the fact that kids die. I realised my own mortality when I read these many, many years ago.

    “The five people you meet in Heaven”. Notice a pattern here??

    “The book thief” and “The boy in the striped pyjamas”. Heartbreaking and beautiful.

    I seem to have been affected by very morbid books! Just thought of a fun one: I liked (as a child) and now adore (as a Mum) “The cat in the hat”. I could recite most of it for you now…The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play.. Dr Seuss was a legend! 🙂

  3. Jenny Snell Says:

    Stephen King was a major force in nuturing my love of reading from a young age. His mammoth novel ‘IT’ is a book I remember that featured themes of freindship, loyalty , good and evil which was probably my first adult read and left a profound effect on me to this day. He is well known as a horror writer but first and foremost he tells a great story.

  4. Cellina Prosser Says:

    The Prophet by Kalil Gibran a poetic tale of balance and harmony.
    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho likewise.
    The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley for the love and passion of creativity.
    A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink for the revolution!

  5. Stacey Says:

    At first I started to write about my favourite books… but then I re-read the question and deleted my previous answer. So, what books have changed my life?

    ‘Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret’, by Judy Blume. Every pre-pubescent girl should read this.

    ‘Seven Little Australians’, by Ethel Turner. I have read this 678645377 times, and I still cry at the end when Judy… I can’t spoil it in case someone hasn’t read it. And I can’t catch the train from Lithgow to Sydney without disappearing into her journey home from boarding school. It is the quintessentially Australian book, I reckon.

    ‘Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood’, by Rebecca Wells. Yeah, I know it’s chick lit, but it helped me to understand the women in my family.

    Oh, look, I could go on for hours. ‘Don’t Let Her See Me Cry’, by Helen Barnacle. Anything by Sylvia Plath. ‘The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith’. ‘What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?’ (the sequel to ‘Once Were Warriors’). ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ (why does that haunting pan-pipe tune resonate in my head when I read it?). ‘To Sir With Love’. ‘The Showgirl & the Brumby’. ‘And the Ass Saw the Angel’. ‘Jessica’.

    All had such an impact that I can’t bear to get rid of them, and I love to re-read them regularly.

    (I’ve just moved house, and my family and friends are horrified that between my 2 kids & I, we have 6 bookcases, overflowing with favourites that will be read, and re-read, and re-read again. Meanwhile I’m horrified that I have to buy a 7th bookcase because we keep collecting books that mean something to us!)

    And every single one of my books have changed my life, my thinking, and my outlook, in either a small or big way. Isn’t that what books should do?

  6. Fiona Says:

    Almost all of Jodie Picoult’s books! – she has a way of making you question the obvious – or what you think is obvious. She has a way of making you see things from another persons perspective…. when you least expect it. She rebinds me to see the good in others.

  7. Chrissy Says:

    From Strength to Strength by Sara Henderson – what an inspirational life!

    Affluenza by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss

    Your Money or your life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin