Friday Extra: Fifty Books that Inspired Me

Riffing off of lists produced by a couple of friends – political thinker Matthew Stinson and Baidu executive Kaiser Kuo – these are the books that I have read in full that inspired my life, my work, my interests, my learning, and my writing.  They are not necessarily the best fifty books that I have read, and, with apologies to my regular readers, only a few are about California. But they are books set me on my path, even if they don’t represent the best of the authors’s ouevres or are even the best on the subject.

I’ll start with the spiritual stuff, so that I can hive it off separately and my atheist/anti-theist/Wicca/Humanist/doubter readers can simply skip past it.

1. The Holy Scriptures
2. The Tanach (Stone Edition)
3. O Jerusalem by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
4. Think Jewish by Zalman Posner
5. Essential Talmud by Adin Steinsaltz
6. Jews, God, and History by Max I. Dimont
7. Toward a Meaningful Life by Simon Jacobson
8. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
9. The Perkei Avoth (Lehman Prins translation)

Now for the more mainstream portion of the list. I have placed an asterisk by those with a California connection:

10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
11. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
12. Dune by Frank Herbert
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
14. The Prince by Machiavelli
15. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
16. 1984 by George Orwell
*17. Americans and the California Dream, 1850-1915 by Kevin Starr
18. Birth of the Modern World Society by Paul Johnson
19. The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy by Barrington Moore
20. Democracy in America by Alexis de Toqueville
21. Das Kapital by Karl Marx
22. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
23. War as I Knew It by George Smith Patton, Jr.
*24. Organizing Genius by Warren Bennis
25. Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
26. Propaganda by Edward R. Bernays
27. The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monserrat
*28. The Sea Wolf by Jack London
29. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972 by Hunter S. Thompson
30. Tai-Pan by James Clavell
31. Twilight in the Forbidden City by Reginald P. Johnston
32. Family by Pa Chin
33. Count Zero by William Gibson
34. On Writing by Stephen King
35. Fanshen by William Hinton
36. The Watchmen by Alan Moore
37. Mila 18 by Leon Uris
*38. The Moon’s A Baloon by David Niven
39. The Pentagon’s New Map by Thomas P.M. Barnett
40. Quality is Free by Philip Crosby
41. Dispatches by Michael Herr
42. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
43. Strategy by B.H. Lidell Hart
44. The Trusted Advisor, by David H. Maister et al.
45. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
46. The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson
*47. By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman
*48. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
49. Galileo by Bertolt Brecht
50. A Republican Looks at his Party by Arthur Larson

I know I’m missing something here. What books inspired you?

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