As the title suggests, this is my very first blog post! Hurrah! Also as the title suggests… if I only had 5 books to read the rest of my life which ones would I choose?
1) Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand — I chose this one as my number one for a number of reasons. First, it is a behemoth of a novel so at least I would have a lot to read. Second, there is so much philosophy in this book that it would take years and years of studying to properly digest it all. Third, the story is good. Fourth the characters, both the heroes and the villains are very unique, more than just your plain “good vs. evil.”
2) The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien — The Harry Potter series is my favorite series of all time, but The Hobbit is easily my favorite fiction work of all time. I fell in love with so many of the characters in this book and can read it over and over again without getting bored. The development, the heroism, Tolkien’s universe… I look forward to the day I can read this masterpiece to my children and show them what the movies got right, and what they got wrong.
3) Leave No Doubt, Mike Babcock — This is a very quick read, but the message in the book is so powerful that it made the cut anyway. Mike Babcock is currently the Head Coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he was the Coach of the Detroit Red Wings (Go Wings!) at the time of writing it. Babcock coached Team Canada hockey in the 2010 Winter Olympics. The book is about their gold medal journey and his personal philosophy that led them to the top spot on the podium. The book has inspired me to take actions to achieve my own personal goals. At one point it inspired me to lose 65lbs in a span of 5 months. I have since gained it back (and then some) but that is no fault of the book. I look to the book for inspiration. And if I only had 5 books to choose from, this is an excellent choice to remind me to chase my non-reading goals with fervor.
4) Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk — I am Dan’s indecisive brain. I was going to make numbers 4 and 5 a science book and a history book because both contain critical information for anyone who wants to understand how the world works. But you know what, I love Fight Club more than I love understanding how the world works. Hell, even the movie was great. I couldn’t put this book down my first time through it. I could go on and on, but I would hate to break the rules.
5) Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond — I had to buy this book for my Economic History course my junior year of college. The book strives to answer Yali’s question, “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?” It is perhaps the most thoughtful explanation to the question of why Europeans experienced most of the world’s economic successes of recent history. It’s a pretty thick book as well as thought provoking. The answer to Yali’s question, in a nutshell, is the title of the book. But Diamond dives even further asking why was it that Europeans experienced the success of guns, germs, and steel as opposed to Africans. It is a fascinating read and a must have for someone who, like me, has a passion for economics and history.
Bonus question: What book do you currently own that means the most to you?
Buck Wilder’s Small Twig Hiking & Camping Guide, Tim Smith and Mark Herrick — My grandparents on my dad’s side bought me this book, as well as Buck Wilder’s Small Fry Fishing Guide when I was 6 years old. Both are signed by the authors. It is 18 years later, the books are still here but my grandparents are not. Whenever I see these books I think of them. I have been a bookworm for most of my life. I have had an affinity for the outdoors since I was a child as well. I remember spending hours at the kitchen table hunched over both of these books hoping to be a better outdoorsman. They gave their love for the great outdoors to my dad, who gave it to me, and I hope that one day I will be able to share that love with children of my own.