10 More Books That Changed My Life

In July I decided to write one post a day. Which one resonated most? 10 Books that Changed My Life.

Since then I’ve been ruminating over a list of (fiction) books that had a profound effect on me. Here we go…

All Tomorrow’s Parties

I found a worn-out copy in a dodgy hostel in Morocco. It was a difficult time for me and this book transported me to another place. Gibson has that ability. More than any other, he also has a knack for seeing into the future. Not long afterward I had the pleasure of meeting him in a coffee shop and he was quite pleased that I enjoyed this novel. That made me happy.

Ecstasy Club

My first read of Rushkoff’s and I was hooked. Revealing, riveting, and chock-full of rave references. I lived in San Francisco for years and there is no better novel to capture the sentiment of an idealistic, nu-flower power movement fuelled by the electronic beat.

Decades later when reading Team Human I can see the evolution of one of our world’s most brilliant minds.

The Great Gatsby

I’ve read this classic three times now. Like good Manchego, it gets better with age. Or maybe it’s because I’ve aged that it reads like butter? I find myself pausing for long periods of time to savor the words and often compelled to re-reading passages as they are so fucking good.

The Alchemist

Everyone on the planet should read this book. Fun fact: In 1998, a small Brazilian publisher took a chance on The Alchemist by printing 900 copies. But it was only five years later when translated into English, that things took off. “When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you,” Coelho explains.

On The Road

My introduction to Beatnik writing and I was hooked. I felt like I was living inside this novel fuelled by a frenetic jazz quartet. I was a late teen on my first read, and my longing for freedom was perfectly encapsulated in this masterpiece.

The 156-pound marriage

I know it’s not an Irving classic but somehow it left an imprint on me. Its lightness and heaviness, details of desire, and never-ending drama kept me glued. I haven’t encountered writing like this except for another fave in Philip Roth.

Generation X

Coupland is one of my favorite thinkers and writers. This is a monumental book that captures the sentiment of my generation (I’m a late Gen-exer). Disenchanted and determined to live a different way — the gang head to the desert to live extraordinarily. Like many I’m sure, I feel like this book was written for me.

The Catcher in the Rye

There are lines in this book that just melt me. “I’m quite illiterate, but I read a lot,” is one. Of course, it has highly inappropriate and misogynistic elements to it which one can chalk up to Holden Caulfield’s high-school junior awkwardness, cynism, and bonafide PTSD from the loss of his brother. I will read this book every 5 years to make sure I don’t forget the power of words.

The Republic

I know this is the odd one out. But this utopian fiction is so provocative and made a lasting imprint on me as I entered university. The port of Athens, with its colorful walks of life, was the perfect backdrop to waxing lyrical on the best way to live. Plato and his gang (Socrates, Glaucon, and co.) would cruise the buzzing streets of Piraeus intoxicated by the sights and sea. It was in this serene setting that Plato began shaping the world’s most important philosophical work.

Until this day, I’m still hung up on a philosopher who lived some 2400 years ago proclaiming the best way for everyone to live, and in particular how I should live. Oh, the gall to speak of the desires of my soul and then exclude them from expression!

Women

I just found this on the shelf of a hotel. As I started to read it I realized it was one of the first Bukowski’s books I read (Post-Office another fave). What I love about this is his unabashed way, vulnerability, and showing how torturous the writing life can be. No one writes as this dude did.

These are all of course non-fiction reads. My 10 favorite non-fiction books are here. You can grab my monthly digest for more of my writing here

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Jonas Altman

Jonas Altman

Founder, Coach & Author of the bestseller SHAPERS → www.shapers.life/book