Last time I recommended books that recommended other books. In this article I want to share with you the books that changed me the first time I read them. I would love to hear about the ones that changed you.

First off, what do I mean by “changed me”? These are ones that I had some emotional experience by reading them…they made me see things differently…they made me feel differently about myself or life in general….they gave me some shift in my perspective and have stayed in my awareness since reading them. In many cases, they caused me to re-read them.

Here is my list in no order:

Catch -22 by Joseph Heller–Read this and laughed and laughed…but also was struck by the obvious absurdity of war and many human activities. Set me on a continuous path of questioning the norms around me.

The Psychology of Consciousness by Robert Ornstein–The first edition came out many years ago when I was in college. I had a psychology class where we read and explored the topics of the book…consciousness, the general specialization of the 2 sides of the brain…and Sufi wisdom stories….wow! Western science and Eastern mysticism and consciousness….opened ideas in me that I am still exploring.

The Next Whole Earth Catalog edited by Stewart Brand—This giant book gave me so many ideas of things to read and do….it was like a good friend giving me recommendations on things that spoke to me, recommendations that the friends around me did not really know about. Set me off reading Co-Evolution Quarterly magazine and Whole Earth Review…their spinoffs.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig–Whole Earth recommended this one…I read it and I went on the journey with the author. It’s part cross country motorcycle trip, part discussions of maintaining a motorcycle, part philosophical exploration of life and “quality”. Along the way, the author devolves into a state of disconnecting from “normal/rational” life….I went into the same state reading the book.

The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes–my spiritual exploration led me to a community that taught Holmes’ philosophy. This was the main book I started with and have read and re-read. It’s one that’s like peeling an onion….stuff you skip or don’t understand when you first read opens up for you upon re-reading. You change and as you change, you become open to deeper understandings of what is being presented. Hey, I became a Science of Mind minister, so it must have affected me, eh?

Conversations with God (book 1) by Neale Donald Walsch—This book and the one by Chopra (next) were the ones that complimented what I was studying with Science of Mind. They dovetailed together. Walsch’s book was a better introduction to basic metaphysical understanding than the Science of Mind, so much so that for years I gave this book to anyone who was interested.

The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra–This is the other book that opened my eyes to basic metaphysical workings. Brief and to the point and worth reading and re-reading. Chopra has written so many books, but this is his best one.

A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber–I have learned so much from Wilber….although The Integral Vision is the one I recommend to folks to best understand AQAL Integral Theory, this book is the one that really opened my eyes to his work. Integral and Spiral Dynamics came along into my life around the same time and both changed me…however, the ideas of Spiral Dynamics I first understood better from verbal presentations.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey—This book helped further my governmental career as I learned so much from it and used so much of its philosophy and tools in my managerial work. I have no doubt that a lot of success in my life came from following ideas that crystalized in my consciousness from reading this book. I still use the concepts that it taught me. It is a classic.

Now, I am sure that I have left one or two out….if some will come back and add. But these are the ones that readily come to mind.

So what about you? What books changed you? Love to hear your comments….

Mark Gilbert

Photo by Florin Gorgan on Foter.com / CC BY-SA