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The books that have had the greatest impact on me

Some books that I would like to share because I have found them enriching in some way

The books that have had the greatest impact on me
2 July 2016

Although I have not read as much as I would have liked (something I want to remedy), I am a great advocate of literature. It is without a doubt the best medium for learning (in general) in depth about many subjects. Great thinkers, artists and intellectuals are all book lovers. That has to mean something, right?

Haven't you ever stopped yourself to think about how much work goes into a book? Sometimes it is the work of a lifetime that ends up condensed into a book. When we read it, we are acquiring (in a summarized form) the knowledge of the person who wrote it. That is the greatness of books. It's like when in the Matrix movie, Neo's head was plugged into a cable and martial arts programs started to load into his mind...

During my life, I have been reading different kinds of books. When I was little, I used to read novels and science fiction books. Then I became interested in psychology, self-help books, philosophy and religion. Then I got hooked on travel and art books. Nowadays, the books I read most are related to my work. Programming, technology, science and something related to entrepreneurship, business and Japanese culture.

The truth is that it's complicated to make time (especially if you have children) to read books of all kinds. So, I can't blame anyone for not doing it! I understand it perfectly.

Last Friday, my flight from Alicante to London was delayed, so I came up with the idea of buying a book to make time until it was time to board. I found a novel by Haruki Murakami. It's called 'Kafka on the Shore' and it's the story of a young boy who leaves home at the age of 15. It got me hooked! I've started to remember the pleasure it feels when you find a book that you like a lot and that you can't stop reading! So, I've decided to do a bit of retrospection and review some of the books that I've read during my life and have marked me in some way.

Below, I've put together a short list of books that have been special to me for some reason. I might even go so far as to say that some of these books have changed my life! Don't expect anything special. The mega-intellectual stuff (philosophy and religion) often makes me sleepy, so I have a lot of books left to finish.

The Alchemist (Paolo Coelho) and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Robin Sharma): these two books I read in the summer of 2007 were the breeding ground for the samurai route. They were a great inspiration to me and helped me visualize how I should prepare for that great journey. The alchemist also inspired me to go on a backpacking trip to Morocco, where a multitude of adventures took place.

On the razor's edge (William Somerset Maugham): I read this book on my subway trips when I lived alone in Paris. In a way, it amplified that sense of adventure I was feeling living in a different country for the first time.

On the Road (Jack Kerouac): this book I read during my trip through southern Spain and then Morocco. Reading travel books while traveling is very exciting.

Zen, its history and teachings (Osho): I found this book at my in-laws' house in Manila, Philippines. It was my last day there before going back to London, so I asked my father-in-law to let me take it with me. I enjoyed reading about Zen and discovering how in the end it all comes down to laughing! Are you puzzled? Well, read it then.

A geek in Japan (Héctor García): I have been following Kirai's blog since its beginning, back in 2005. Since then, I was already enthusiastic about the stories he published about his experiences in Japan. Therefore, it is not surprising that I enjoyed his first book as much, if not more than his blog posts. His next book, Ikigai was also very good!

The dream (Gurbaksh Chahal): this was the first book I read related to entrepreneurs. I was fascinated by the story of Gurbaksh and how his determination and ambition had led him to become a millionaire at a very young age.

Your Wrong Zones (Wayne Dyer) and The Inner Compass (Alex Rovira): these two books are from the time when I discovered self-help books. I was a bit freaked out by the subject and I was reading others related to emotional intelligence, positivism, etc. In general, they were very useful for me to put some things into practice in my relationships with others. Whether you want to or not, when you leave home for the first time and face the world, there are things you have to learn to get along better in society, and these books are certainly a great help in those moments.

Siddharta (Herman Hess): calling me Joan Siddharta, it would have been a fat sin not to have read this book! In any case, it is a very nice story that I recommend everyone to read. Besides, it has some teachings that I would like everyone to put more into practice. Like, for example, getting rid of material possessions or treating nature and animals with love and respect. Who knows..., maybe some of you will get to experience nirvana? :)

Congress of Futurology (Stanislaw Lem): this was the first sci-fi book I ever read. I don't remember the age, but it would be around 12 or 14 years old. I probably didn't get as much out of it as I could have, but I remember being pretty freaked out.

I'm sure some others were special, but as I have most of my books in Alicante, I can't remember. What I am going to do is to update this blog entry as I remember other books.

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