The three books which have influenced you the most

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  • LeoliansBro 22 Dec 2011 11:40:10 44,258 posts
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    Inspired by the enormous cock up the Mexican Presidential frontrunner made of answering this (he said the Bible, before adding he hadn't read it, got the author of his second choice wrong and went for Jeffrey Archer for his third...) and in full awareness that such topics are older than time:

    Which three books have personally influenced you the most?

    I'd go for 1. Dune, for its labyrinthine politicking and ecological message which seems strangely prescient, as well as being a damn fine story. 2. The Prince, for its practicalities and refreshing frankness. 3. Catch 22

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • sport 22 Dec 2011 11:49:14 12,734 posts
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    1) Dick, Dora and Spot - taught me to read, LITERALLY.
    2) Any one of the books starring "The 3 Investigators" - First series that engrossed me completely.
    3) Mein Kampf

    Edited by sport at 11:49:36 22-12-2011
  • ModishNouns 22 Dec 2011 11:53:57 4,655 posts
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    1. Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character for his breezy attitude and joy of geekiness.
    2. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. A bit of a geeky male Mary Sue but I love him.
    3. Stone Junction by Jim Dodge. One I should really read again. A wonderful "Potter for grown ups". Sharp, cool and dusty like a desert road.
  • TheSaint 22 Dec 2011 11:56:58 14,419 posts
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    I could only think of one.
  • Chopsen 22 Dec 2011 11:57:51 16,006 posts
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    HHGTTG (collected) (Douglas Adams, innit) - read it at a young age and think it pretty much formed my opinion on modern life and everything. I think Adams was a genius, but also pathologically lazy.

    A History of Western Thought: From Ancient Greece to the Twentieth Century (Nils Gilje and Gunnar Skirbekk) - where our ideas come from, how stuff we take for granted may not be a given, challenge preconceptions and ways of thinking. There are I'm sure other books that collect and summarise this story just as well, but this is the one I have read.

    Was also going to mention "Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman" so I'll probably go for The Satanic Bible by Anton Lavey for being the book that convinced my that all religion, "New Age" and the occult is just a load of old twaddle.
  • TechnoHippy 22 Dec 2011 12:06:23 14,718 posts
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    Tough question. Probably Thomas the Tank Engine (for getting me into reading all those decades ago), Paradise Lost (for me the greatest story ever told) and Excession (my favourite novel).

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  • elstoof 22 Dec 2011 12:14:44 7,380 posts
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    I generally wait for the film version.
  • TechnoHippy 22 Dec 2011 12:21:04 14,718 posts
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    The film version of Thomas the Tank Engine was pretty poor compared to the books.

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  • elstoof 22 Dec 2011 12:24:01 7,380 posts
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    The books didn't have Ringo.
  • TechnoHippy 22 Dec 2011 12:27:52 14,718 posts
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    Fuck Ringo.

    Fuck him right in his little star.

    Edited by TechnoHippy at 12:29:03 22-12-2011

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  • nickthegun 22 Dec 2011 12:34:23 59,957 posts
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    1) The Hobbit - taught me to read like a grown up

    2) IT - first horror that I read that wasnt one of the classics or pulp. Cemented my love of the genre

    3) Asterix (any) - I was all about the asterix when I was a kid. It taught me all I need to know about france and every other country he visited.

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  • disusedgenius 22 Dec 2011 12:35:10 5,333 posts
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    Sceptical Essays by Bertrand Russell. Because the guy is very obviously a dude.

    Totem and Taboo by Freud. Not because it's his best work or anything, but for me it was an introduction to a different way of looking at things rather than just reading for confirmation bias. Personally I actually prefer the essay on how Leonardo was actually gay (from one of his books on art), mostly because it was a great example of starting from a piece of false information (in this case a mistranslation, I believe) and seeing how far you can apply your beliefs to it and come up with a really strong, considered opinion with no real basis in reality.

    A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. Generally I'm a huge fan of getting information to give context to things. That doesn't really getting much bigger than trying to come to terms with that whole 'universe' thing. On the one hand you get a sense of how tiny we are, but then how far we've come in understanding it.
  • 4gate 22 Dec 2011 12:36:17 362 posts
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    Hitch Hikers, The Hungry Caterpillar, and a copy of Men Only I found under a hedge 33 years ago.
  • morriss 22 Dec 2011 12:37:11 70,998 posts
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    Big Sleep
    Narcissus and Goldmund
    Crime and Punishment
  • Chopsen 22 Dec 2011 12:37:15 16,006 posts
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    I could not get along with Brief History... at all. Found it impenetrable. But then I was 17 when I read it and I was thick back then. Keep thinking I should pick it up again now that I am clever and awesome.

    Keep meaning to read some Bertrand Russell. He is, as you say, a dude.
  • Madder-Max 22 Dec 2011 12:41:20 11,656 posts
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    Stainless Steel rat series of books

    The Talisman - Stephen King & Peter Straub
    Christine - Stephen King (read this when i was 11....:eek:

    99 problems and being ginger is one

  • consignia 22 Dec 2011 12:41:28 1,433 posts
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    1. The World According to Clarkson 1
    2. The World According to Clarkson 2
    3. The World According to Clarkson 3

    Not really.
  • disusedgenius 22 Dec 2011 12:43:37 5,333 posts
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    Yeah, I think I was a couple of years older than that, but I had a quite a train ride into uni to fill, so having to read each paragraph about 2 or 3 times didn't matter too much! 4D graphs in 2D did slightly break my brain, however.

    But then again, I was studying Fine Art so there wasn't exactly much else trying to break it. :)
  • THFourteen 22 Dec 2011 12:44:16 33,452 posts
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    Tintin goes to the moon - Taught me how to cope at work
    Asterix in Britain - Taught me how to cope in Britain
    Pacific Island Adventure (Willard Price) - Taught me how i might cope if i was marooned on a pacific island.
  • Madder-Max 22 Dec 2011 12:49:01 11,656 posts
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    3 is too small a number

    The far Arena - Richard Ben Sapir Brilliant, brilliant book

    99 problems and being ginger is one

  • Ged42 22 Dec 2011 12:56:21 7,732 posts
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    HHGTG - Taught me how to look at the universe and in a roundabout way, led to me meeting my wife.

    Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson - Taught me science, geology, politics, social engineering and how to make better coffee.

    Anything by Roald Dahl - Taught me rebelling against the adult authority isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • nickthegun 22 Dec 2011 12:57:01 59,957 posts
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    consignia wrote:
    1. The World According to Clarkson 1
    2. The World According to Clarkson 2
    3. The World According to Clarkson 3

    Not really.
    You say that, but my minion has, by his own admission, only read 4 books of his own accord.

    Three clarkson books and the zombie survival guide.

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  • Lukus 22 Dec 2011 13:00:26 19,115 posts
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    1.) The Joy of Sex
    2.) The karma Sutra
    3.) Matilda

    Paintings & Photographs

  • localnotail 22 Dec 2011 13:05:43 23,093 posts
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    HHGTTG had a massive influence on me but it was the radio shows rather than the books, although I did read them. Same with Lord of the Rings. Thank you Radio 4.

    The Lorax by Dr Suess taught me the importance of respecting our natural ecology and the unimportance of thneeds.

    Readers Digest book of DIY taught me that pretty much anything in my house can be fixed if I am willing to learn how.

    Catch 22 taught me that our society is governed by idiots and blind chance, and the only way to survive is to try to find the humour in everything.

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

  • Deleted user 22 December 2011 13:13:59
    A bit embarrassing but years ago I found a collection of Tony Buzzan books on eBay about memory and mind mapping etc. bought them and they completely changed my life. The realisation that the brain, especially your memory, is like a muscle that can be improved with practise using certain techniques got me from being able to memorise - instantly - the order of an entire pack of shuffled cards to putting me through law school.
  • Deleted user 22 December 2011 17:43:35
    Wow tough question. And Techno hippy - i will probably have to say the same Thomas the tank engine. I too had all of them, but i would have never have said that if you had though. But i loved everything TTTE when i was a litte one.

    The Road - Cormac McCarthy. The first book i actually really really loved, and could read it over and over and discuss it till days on end. The distinct beauty in the small things, and the bond between father and son is that of a special value.

    Guards Guards - Reading Pratchett i feel so me. I loved the vimes series, and this was the first pratchett book i read.I guess its given me my sense of humour and observational skills.

    Hitchhikers - I agree with a lot of what people say. For me, it the realisation in the book that we are just a spec in existance and we don't matter. Once you get your head round that, i think you can just enjoy things more, but strive to do something with your life that is worth doing, despite the hardships and difficulties that come with it.
  • MrTomFTW Moderator 22 Dec 2011 17:46:50 38,256 posts
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    I can't read :cry:

    Follow me on Twitter: @MrTom
    Voted by the community "Best mod" 2011, 2012 and 2013.

  • Deleted user 22 December 2011 17:54:18
    Finding it hard to narrow down to three. I'm left with four which I can't choose between - Dune, Asterix books, HHGTTG and anything by Roald Dahl.

    Probably Roald Dahl would be number one though. An ultimate lifetime goal would be to publish children's books as good as his.

    Siderant - what I hated about the newer HP books/films is that they were so determined to be 'adult' they shunned the childish origins (so whenever they unavoidably came up, like calling Voldemort 'you-know-who', they stuck out like a sore thumb). RD proved that you can embrace being childish and adult simultaneously, there's more valuable moral lessons in a single chapter of a Dahl book than there is in the entirety of the HP series. A rare talent, sadly missed.
  • Deleted user 22 December 2011 17:57:04
    DDevil wrote:
    I can't read :cry:
    I just typed in Mr Blue Hat. Into Google images. Never again.

    I meant to type in Billy Blue Hat. Anyone read those in school. There was a another series of books as well that my mum used to buy for me but i can't remeber what they were. They got progressively harder, and introduced new words and rules of writing/reading along the way.

    Edited by joelstinton at 17:59:54 22-12-2011
  • Deleted user 22 December 2011 17:59:31
    meme wrote:
    Finding it hard to narrow down to three. I'm left with four which I can't choose between - Dune, Asterix books, HHGTTG and anything by Roald Dahl.

    Probably Roald Dahl would be number one though. An ultimate lifetime goal would be to publish children's books as good as his.

    Siderant - what I hated about the newer HP books/films is that they were so determined to be 'adult' they shunned the childish origins (so whenever they unavoidably came up, like calling Voldemort 'you-know-who', they stuck out like a sore thumb). RD proved that you can embrace being childish and adult simultaneously, there's more valuable moral lessons in a single chapter of a Dahl book than there is in the entirety of the HP series. A rare talent, sadly missed.
    I could easily add Dahl to my list as well. Infact i should. I recently re-read going solo, a joy of a book.

    I had a 3 in one collection, with BFG, Matilda, and Georges Marvellous Medicine. It ruled my life for a while. Also at primary school for some bizarre reason , it was cool, and you were uncool if you hadn't to read, danny and the champion of the world.

    Hell i can't wait to read his stories to my kids in the future.

    Edited by joelstinton at 18:00:27 22-12-2011
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