Author Topic: Why I read these books  (Read 680 times)

rmalloy

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Why I read these books
« on: February 15, 2017, 04:00:46 AM »
Yoko Ono once laughed at me, I was standing, at the time, on her bed. Two days later, in a kitchen on rue du bac, British Fashion Designer Paul Smith was asking me if I thought his shirts looked a little too camp for normal guys, he makes an excellent cup of tea, by the way. While a week earlier the actress Natasha Kinski flirted with me in St Germain en Laye.

I was 19 and I spent most of my days in the homes of Millionaires and Global Celebrities.
I was just a normal guy working in the strange business of Arts and Antiques for Christie's Auction House Paris. I was a member of a motley crew of portuguese and french delivery guys moving priceless works of art to the city's elite homes.

I once accidentially bent the finger of a Rodin and I'm pretty sure one of Picasso's lesser works is a tone darker thanks to my sweaty hands. But I was the specialist, because as the saying goes 'in the world of the blind, the seeing man is king' because I could speak english and our clients were too wealthy to learn french. Except for maybe John Malkovich, his french was pretty impressive.
My student job would have ended there if it had not been for one simple question I asked every single client. This question opened the door to conversations about everything else.

Can I see your bookshelf?

That was the question that brought a light to everybody's eye. Here was I, a young irish delivery guy, asking these people what they read. But they got it and not only did they show me, they opened up about what books mattered most to them. Most of the time, I left with a book in my bag, that they insisted I had to read.
Years later, I still have my list, only the list was replaced by a bookshelf which I share with close friends and it has grown.

Before Tim Ferriss ever wrote Tools of Titans, or James Altucher spread his Choose Yourself mantra; these were the books I found most often in the homes of the most successful people I met that summer in Paris...

1 As a Man Thinketh
https://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-Peace-Bonus/dp/150777768X/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1486827620&sr=8-12&keywords=as+a+man+thinketh
2 Think and Grow Rich
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193787950X/ref=abs_brd_tag_dp?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
3 How to Win Friends and Influence People
https://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487155342&sr=1-1&keywords=How+to+Win+Friends+and+Influence+People
4 Meditations
https://www.amazon.com/Meditations-Vita-Beata-Marcus-Aurelius/dp/151473219X/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487155381&sr=1-8&keywords=meditations+marcus+aurelius+seneca
5 Self Reliance
https://www.amazon.com/Self-Reliance-Essays-Millionaires-Library/dp/1523263849/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487155430&sr=1-2&keywords=Self+Reliance
6 The Power of Positive Thinking
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Positive-Thinking-Norman-Vincent/dp/0743234804/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487155496&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Power+of+Positive+Thinking
7 Walden
https://www.amazon.com/Walden-Writings-Henry-David-Thoreau/dp/1539346218/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486828261&sr=1-1&keywords=1539346218
8 The Jefferson Bible
https://www.amazon.com/Jefferson-Bible-Morals-Jesus-Nazareth/dp/1542913160/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487155645&sr=1-3&keywords=The+Jefferson+Bible
9 The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
https://www.amazon.com/Autobiography-Benjamin-Franklin/dp/1508744823/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486828562&sr=1-1&keywords=1508744823
9 Siddhartha
https://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-Bonus-Dhammapada-Story-Buddha/dp/1508479976/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486828636&sr=1-1&keywords=1508479976

Have these books influenced you? Can you add to my list?

lifejoy

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Re: Why I read these books
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 01:52:49 PM »
Really interesting list!

Nicely laid out intro, too :)

2 Think and Grow Rich
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193787950X/ref=abs_brd_tag_dp?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

- Tried it, couldn't get into it.

7 Walden
https://www.amazon.com/Walden-Writings-Henry-David-Thoreau/dp/1539346218/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486828261&sr=1-1&keywords=1539346218

- Love the quotes, couldn't get into it.

9 Siddhartha
https://www.amazon.com/Siddhartha-Bonus-Dhammapada-Story-Buddha/dp/1508479976/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486828636&sr=1-1&keywords=1508479976

- Read it. Didn't get it.

HAHA! But I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE "How to Win Friends and Influence People". Fantastic book. Cool list nevertheless!

AMandM

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Re: Why I read these books
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 08:10:51 PM »
I am astonished by this list.  I would never have expected the kind of highly creative people you mention to have such pragmatic taste in books!

It's also an oddly American-heavy list. Were the people you delivered to mostly Americans?

I have not read any of those books, except for a passage in Walden where Thoreau gets rid of an interesting rock because dusting it is too much of a burden.  I find it highly amusing that customers of Christie's auction house would count Walden as influential.

Dave1442397

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Re: Why I read these books
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 03:02:24 PM »
I'd add:

The Magic of Thinking Big - David Schwartz
Hung by the Tongue - Francis Martin
How to stop Worrying and start Living - Dale Carnegie
Success with People - Cavett Robert
The Slight Edge - Jeff Olson
Words that Work - Frank Luntz

I've read most of the books on your list, too, plus hundreds more.

Have they helped? Hell yes. I've gotten every job I've interviewed for and wanted (there were two I wasn't interested in once we talked).


GetSmart

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Re: Why I read these books
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2017, 06:52:59 PM »
Quote
Yoko Ono once laughed at me, I was standing, at the time, on her bed. Two days later, in a kitchen on rue du bac, British Fashion Designer Paul Smith was asking me if I thought his shirts looked a little too camp for normal guys, he makes an excellent cup of tea, by the way. While a week earlier the actress Natasha Kinski flirted with me in St Germain en Laye.

I was 19 and I spent most of my days in the homes of Millionaires and Global Celebrities.
I was just a normal guy working in the strange business of Arts and Antiques for Christie's Auction House Paris. I was a member of a motley crew of portuguese and french delivery guys moving priceless works of art to the city's elite homes.

I once accidentially bent the finger of a Rodin and I'm pretty sure one of Picasso's lesser works is a tone darker thanks to my sweaty hands. But I was the specialist, because as the saying goes 'in the world of the blind, the seeing man is king' because I could speak english and our clients were too wealthy to learn french. Except for maybe John Malkovich, his french was pretty impressive.
My student job would have ended there if it had not been for one simple question I asked every single client. This question opened the door to conversations about everything else.

Can I see your bookshelf?

That was the question that brought a light to everybody's eye. Here was I, a young irish delivery guy, asking these people what they read. But they got it and not only did they show me, they opened up about what books mattered most to them. Most of the time, I left with a book in my bag, that they insisted I had to read.
Years later, I still have my list, only the list was replaced by a bookshelf which I share with close friends and it has grown.

Before Tim Ferriss ever wrote Tools of Titans, or James Altucher spread his Choose Yourself mantra; these were the books I found most often in the homes of the most successful people I met that summer in Paris...

When I first read this I thought it was a quote from a book.  If you haven't already written a memoir of your summer in Paris then get cracking' !  You clearly have a gift for writing and I for one would be interesting in reading more about this adventure.

Also thanks for the list.  I've read a few and adding the rest to my 'to be read list'.

Moonwaves

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Re: Why I read these books
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2017, 07:37:31 AM »
Ahh, other people's bookshelves. Love going to people's houses and seeing what they have, or what's new since the last time I was there. And try really hard to resist the temptation to move my less cerebral books into the bedroom in case anyone looking at my bookshelves were to get the wrong idea and think I only read rubbish light-hearted fare.