Which books have changed your life?

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…

Published by

Clayton Wehner

Clayton is the founder and managing director of Boomerang Books. In a past life, Clayton worked for 12 years as an intelligence officer in the Australian Army and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College Duntroon and holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science and a Master of Management Studies (Human Resource Management) from the UNSW. He is also a trained Indonesian linguist and served with the United Nations in East Timor as an interpreter/translator.

7 thoughts on “Which books have changed your life?”

  1. – 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. “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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

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