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Old 10-23-2008, 11:40 AM   #16
HappyMartin
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A Dry White season by Andre Brink. As a white boy in a whites only boys Catholic school I was blissfully oblivious to the political realities of apartheid south Africa. "A Dry White Season" made a massive impact on me
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:48 AM   #17
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Wow, so many....

Marc already hit on Motorcycle Maintenance.

The Silent Language by Ed Hall taught me to look beyond the mere words to understand a fuller texture to the communication process.

The Medium is the Message by Marshall Mcluhan for so many things (his Understanding Media is also a classic worth every penny.)

There are many other modern books ....

In classic works, just start with Voltaire and build outward.
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:50 AM   #18
NatCh
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I regularly pick up turns of phrase from whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment, if they're used repeatedly in the book. However they tend to fade over time as I read other ones, so I don't know if that qualifies or not.

I'd have to say that the Complete Sherlock Holmes (which I checked out from my junior high school library so many consecutive times that the librarian tried to stop me from checking it out more, but had to concede that no one else was asking for it, and let me check it out several more times) massively broadened my vocabulary. It wasn't until some years later that I realized why others snickered when I would use the word "ejaculate" in conversation -- at the time, I figured it was just because it had four syllables.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:04 PM   #19
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What's with jr high librarians? I checked out all sorts of books, but the little sign out card at the back of a full-color astronomy guide to the planets had nobody's signature except mine over and over again. No one had ever checked it out except me. And still she tried to discourage me.

My sister was a library aid after I moved on to high school. She told me the librarian still used me as an example of being narrow-minded. I guess she didn't remember me checking out Quo Vadis, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ann of Green Gables, and so on.

I actually read almost every book in that library. Spent a lot of time there. It was where detention was held.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:19 PM   #20
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If they'd held detention in the library, I'd've been in detention more.
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Old 10-23-2008, 12:34 PM   #21
ShortNCuddlyAm
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If they'd held detention in the library, I'd've been in detention more.
Same here

Ours was usually held in a little area off the corridor by the staff room, which was a remarkably good deterrent!
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:33 PM   #22
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Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." That was my first exposure to her philosophy and along with her other works it resonated strongly with me, being surrounded by those who feed off the efforts of others.
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:19 PM   #23
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Atlas Shrugged? The Original Poster said no religious texts.

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Old 10-23-2008, 04:02 PM   #24
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Wow! Very interesting question!

A couple of people have already mentioned books/authors that I really like, and that made an impact on me in an abstract sense--like Watership Down and Essays in Existentialism, by Sartre.

I hope I don't offend anyone who thinks this ought to be considered a religious book, but I think the biggest impact in my life was made by Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.

The book was given to me during a difficult time in my life, by someone important to me. The message I took home from that book was that we all need to find our own way to achieve enlightenment, and what constitutes enlightenment is unique for each of us.

I didn't do any Googling to see if people agree with me as far whether or not that's the books' message, but I've changed a lot of the ways I think about people, things, and behaviors as a result. I certainly think its had the longest lasting impact on me of any book I've read, and I find myself turning back to it again and again.
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:24 PM   #25
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The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy.

Why?

Because 5 years ago I realized in a few conversations with various people that I had no idea what they were talking about, and I decided that this book must be common knowledge if so many people know it. So I figured I didn't want to die stupid and set out to read the book. But since in Austria english books are hard to come by, I did a google search and right away I found a .LIT file I could download and read on my brand-new PocketPC I got back then.

My first eBook

It took me a while to figure out that I actually downloaded something from the darknet ... I was amazed that people buy paper books but the electronic ones are free

That got the ball rolling, ever since then I never go to sleep without reading a book, and I have not opened a pBook since.
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Old 10-23-2008, 09:23 PM   #26
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Quote:
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A Dry White season by Andre Brink. As a white boy in a whites only boys Catholic school I was blissfully oblivious to the political realities of apartheid south Africa. "A Dry White Season" made a massive impact on me
As an exCapetonian I found that 'Madiba' and 'When a Crocodile Eats the Sun' by Peter Godwin from Zimbabwe impossible to put down.
The latter is available from Mobipocket, and the former I think is available from Fictionwise as ebooks.

Imagine trying to cook with a book in one hand and a ladle in the other!

Cheers

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Old 10-24-2008, 05:00 PM   #27
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Bill, since when is philosophy called religion? Nowhere in the philosophy of Objectivism did I sense religion (a.k.a. belief without basis).
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:31 PM   #28
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The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury. His eerie, melancholy vision of human contact with the "other". Especially the chapter where the human and the alien meet on a road, driving to special events in their own time worlds, arguing about whose "time" is in the present and whose is now past. Reading that book as a teenager shifted my sense of both time and space. I love that book even today.
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:01 PM   #29
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Bill, since when is philosophy called religion? Nowhere in the philosophy of Objectivism did I sense religion (a.k.a. belief without basis).
With respect Penforhire, most followers of Objectivism I have encountered have a devotion for Objectivism that transcends any sort of basis it might have in reality.

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Old 10-25-2008, 11:55 PM   #30
mjh215
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Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." That was my first exposure to her philosophy and along with her other works it resonated strongly with me, being surrounded by those who feed off the efforts of others.
Mine was Anthem. It was the first book that I recall reading as a child that showed the hero as a person concerned with his/her own life and not trying to control others. That was a turning point for me. I'm not personally an Objectivist, but I do find alot of what I see as truth in her philosophy. I didn't read the Fountainhead or AS til later in life.

Penforhire, As for the detractors, I always figured those that feel a need to trash her books whenever they are brought up must have recognized themselves somewhere in AS.

-MJ
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