Author Topic: What books have changed your life?  (Read 48501 times)

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #200 on: January 08, 2017, 12:35:26 AM »
Hyperbole and a Half -- Allie Brosh -- very relevant if you've ever suffered from depression, or from being generally strange, or because you have stupid pets. And it's basically a comic book!
Reasons and Persons -- Derek Parfit -- maybe I'm bitter because the most brilliant moral philosopher of the last generation or so died last week with hardly a notice, but his work lucidly challenges notions of what constitutes a moral action, the nature of personal identity, and what sort of ethics we need when thinking about future generations. This book caused me to finally abandon my moral arguments for libertarianism (though I still think there are utilitarian arguments for some libertarian policies and overall I now consider myself non-ideological politically)
The Beginning of Infinity -- David Deutsch -- one of the more engaging (and more convincing) works on epistemology I've read, with huge detours into seemingly unrelated issues, including electoral systems, aesthetics, and evolutionary biology. Deutsch takes a largely (bigly?) Popperian view of theory formation and falsification but applies it to a variety of fields (including an argument for the multiple worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, of which he is a prominent supporter). Along the way, he deals severe blows to historical materialist views such as those proposed by Jared Diamond in GG&S in favor of an explanation of variable human technological development due to variability in a culture's affinity for innovation (David Landes' "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations" might serve as a decent synthesis of both extremes on this point, however)

1967mama

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #201 on: January 08, 2017, 01:58:15 AM »
The Tightwad Gazette ~ Amy Dacyczyn

This book was my first introduction to frugality -- I grew up in a fairly well off family and had NO CLUE that there was another way to live when we were first married and started having kids. I had it recommended to me by a friend who I really admired. Changed my life! Quit my teaching job (+ dropped out of my 1/2 way completed M. Ed. program) and became a SAHM.

jmwagner5

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #202 on: January 13, 2017, 10:41:05 PM »
So many good books! I cannot thank everyone enough for giving me extra things to search for at the library this weekend. 

Some extra books to add to these lists if I may.

Non-Fiction
Vagabonding - Rolf Potts: This book is a mustachian/minimalist guide to traveling around the world cheaply and effectively.  This guy would actually make it a whole to get around the world with nothing more than the shirt on his back and see how far he could get just living like those around him.  Truly a great read for those who want to experience the culture they are traveling within.
The Four Minute Mile - Roger Bannister: Not sure how many other people are huge fans of running but this book discussing the training and tribulations that went into achieving a sub four minute mile for the first time (while also attending medical school!) was just riveting too me.  Talk about an inspirational human being.
Born to run - Christopher McDougal: You will notice a pattern here on books discussing running.  Another book that really focuses on the joys of what it means to be human and push your boundaries beyond what you thought was possible.  Could not put it down.
The Art of Learning - Josh Waitzkin: A deep dive into how to become world class at specific tasks.  The difference between being "great" and "the best of the best" is small but takes incredible amounts of focus and distillation and Josh really breaks it down nicely with personal examples from the world of chess and martial arts.
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman: I have seen others call out this book but it is a masterful decomposition of the human thought process and how irrational we can be at times.  The read can be a bit long at times but there are nuggets of wisdom in here that illustrate why Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics.

Fiction
Enders Game - Orson Scott Card: Read this back in high school and have re-read it several times since then.  Have not seen the movie but absolutely loved the book.  The lessons at the end of the book really made me evaluate what grievances I truly have with other people around me.  Also, the concept of Up being Down can really mess with your head at first. 
1984 - George Orwell: Made me evaluate just how much control I would ever want to hand over to the government and also how easy it is for things such as constant states of war or terror alerts allow others to gain control over my life in the name of safety.  Few books better explain the risks of having constant surveillance and technology present in your life like 1984.

Sorry for the long list but there are so many good books out there and I love sharing them with fellow book lovers!

lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #203 on: January 15, 2017, 07:14:16 PM »
Born to run - Christopher McDougal: You will notice a pattern here on books discussing running.  Another book that really focuses on the joys of what it means to be human and push your boundaries beyond what you thought was possible.  Could not put it down.
The Art of Learning - Josh Waitzkin: A deep dive into how to become world class at specific tasks.  The difference between being "great" and "the best of the best" is small but takes incredible amounts of focus and distillation and Josh really breaks it down nicely with personal examples from the world of chess and martial arts.
Thinking, Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman: I have seen others call out this book but it is a masterful decomposition of the human thought process and how irrational we can be at times.  The read can be a bit long at times but there are nuggets of wisdom in here that illustrate why Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in Economics.

I've read the first and last book above, both good picks--and realized "The Art of Learning" is by the same Joshua Waitzkin as described in "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (book and later movie). I've always wondered what happened to him!

Kahneman 's work was a good counterweight to Gladwell's "Blink", which effectively argued for vast domains where System 1 (automatic) judgements prevail over more deliberate System 2 cognitive processes. I tend to brood over everything so Kahneman's analysis wasn't an enormous surprise to me personally; however, an annoying coworker who was expert in fast, sloppy thinking fell in love with "Blink" when it came out and I had fun feeling smugly superior as a result of having read Kahneman's more rigorous arguments.

jmwagner5

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #204 on: January 15, 2017, 10:20:01 PM »

I've read the first and last book above, both good picks--and realized "The Art of Learning" is by the same Joshua Waitzkin as described in "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (book and later movie). I've always wondered what happened to him!

He generally avoids the internet and all forms of media.  Tim Ferriss is the only person that seems to draw him out of hiding with any sort of regularity.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #205 on: January 16, 2017, 10:38:51 AM »

I've read the first and last book above, both good picks--and realized "The Art of Learning" is by the same Joshua Waitzkin as described in "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (book and later movie). I've always wondered what happened to him!

He generally avoids the internet and all forms of media.  Tim Ferriss is the only person that seems to draw him out of hiding with any sort of regularity.

Yeah, the Ferriss interviews with him are both incredible. I highly recommend them. (Is there a third? If so, I've only listened to the first two)
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lemanfan

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #206 on: January 17, 2017, 02:31:26 PM »
He was on some of the recent mix and match episodes around the holidays. 

actionjackson

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #207 on: January 20, 2017, 01:15:07 PM »
Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer - all about the practical realities of gaining/building power in organisations in the real world. The book really cuts through the management self-help, leadership BS and gets down to brass tacks on how to get ahead in the corporate world. It's like the street smart guidebook for aspiring corporate leaders. It has this, play the world for what it is, and not what you wish it was philosophy. It can be a bit Machiavellian, but even if you're not that ruthless, it will prep you to guard against political plays in your own job. Hands down, I wouldn't have had the career success I have if it were not for implementing strategies from that book.

I have others, that have already been mentioned, so I thought I'd just put up one.



 

The Drawing Bird

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #208 on: January 21, 2017, 07:52:18 PM »
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  I'm a recovering perfectionist :)

+1  Brene Brown writes refreshing books.  Definitely worth reading if you identify as a "perfectionist" or are interested in psychology.

As far as life-changing, though, I'd have to recommend Triumphs of Experience by George Vaillant.  This book will probably only impact those persuaded by logic.  That being said, it's a beautiful fusion of facts, stories, and philosophy.  It's beautifully written and does not jump to conclusions.

runewell

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #209 on: January 25, 2017, 10:40:35 AM »
The Bible
Please leave Dicey out of this! Have you not been paying any attention? Trolls are not welcome here!

peregrine

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #210 on: January 25, 2017, 11:24:05 AM »
I read about 30 books a year. Three non-fiction books that stand out to me for having changed my perspective:

1. Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by S. Covey   Reading this was the first time I became aware of the difference between reacting and choosing not to/how to react to external situations; also, the idea of things outside our control vs things within. I was 27 and this had a huge impact on my thinking.

2. Man's Search for Meaning by V. Frankl.  Frankl's description of our ability to choose our reaction to any circumstance, no matter how horrific - this deepened my appreciation for the power of our own minds, perspectives.

3. The Rational Optimist - M. Ridley.  I read this in 2016 and it was so uplifting!  In financial terms, I became aware of just how much money I am really making (despite making an 'average' US salary) in regards to meeting physical needs, and especially as compared to previous generations. Again, a book presented me with information contrary to my own ways of thinking about things, and I learned so much.  I think about this one a lot, actually. Read it three times.

lampstache

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #211 on: January 28, 2017, 07:35:50 AM »
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

caracarn

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #212 on: February 02, 2017, 12:17:38 PM »
The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.  Makes you truly understand why worrying is a waste and that you were born with what you need to know when you are in danger.

The Bible

Leaders Always Eat Last by Simon Sinek


juggleandhope

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #213 on: February 09, 2017, 05:00:48 PM »
So many good books! I cannot thank everyone enough for giving me extra things to search for at the library this weekend.  ...

The Art of Learning - Josh Waitzkin: A deep dive into how to become world class at specific tasks.  The difference between being "great" and "the best of the best" is small but takes incredible amounts of focus and distillation and Josh really breaks it down nicely with personal examples from the world of chess and martial arts.

happened into the BJJ gym that Josh co-runs in Manhattan last month - one of the most impressive learning organizations i've seen in 20 years of teaching.

golden1

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #214 on: February 13, 2017, 07:42:47 AM »
Non-Fiction:

Lies my Teacher Told Me - James Loewen:  One of the most groundbreaking history books I have ever read.  I read this in my 20's and it really clued me in on how poorly history is taught in this country (and I went to good public schools) and on certain fallacies that people tend to use when judging history.  It made history into something I am really interested in, and after reading this, I went on to read a lot of other US history books.

Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond - answers the profound question of "Why did white european societies becomes so technologically dominant?"  To answer that question, he touches on all sorts of subjects, anthropology, agriculture, geography, animal husbandry, germ theory etc....  It taught me to look at many things from a more anthropological perspective.  Collapse and The World until Yesterday are pretty good too. 

Non-Zero - Robert Wright.  This was written before 9/11 and essentially predicted it, and talks about how the trend of history tends toward a global society.  In light of recent events, I want to reread this, but at the time it seemed highly prescient.

Fiction:
1984, Brave New World - the old style dystopian novels. 

I Know this much is True - Wally Lamb.  Such an empathetic book.

Lord of the Rings - I read these in high school and they had a huge impact on me. 

Hyperion Series - Dan Simmons  Quite simply the finest Sci-fi series I have read with an amazing ending.








 

jmsmall

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #215 on: February 15, 2017, 08:40:22 AM »
Chaos by James Gleick changed how I look at the world; stock market, weather, everything.
Happiness is a Serious Problem by Prager--short read, fascinating ideas
Forgive to Live by Tibbets
Essentialism by Greg McKeown, pretty mustachian, has not changed me as much as I'd like YET but it's nibbling away at me

What else?
The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis; grown up spirituality in a deceptively simple short book
Guns Germs Steel, gives an overarching theory of human evolution that is thought provoking and has good explanatory power

Health:
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, reversed decades of medical propaganda (low fat, grain, vegeterian, etc) in my medically trained mind in a few days. Long read; "Why We Get Fat" is an easier read for the less medically inclined.)
The New Atkins for a New You, started me on Low Carb (I am a physician and I now HIGHLY recommend low carb high fat eating)--an excellent how to do it book with a fair amount of theory by highly experienced nutritionists and physician/reserchers
Body By Science by Doug McGuff MD, changed my exercise forever. I now lift heavy weights to failure once each one to two weeks and I'm now, at 62 years old, doing 205 lb pulldowns. Amazing.

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lost_in_the_endless_aisle

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #216 on: February 15, 2017, 10:09:22 PM »
James Gleick is solid, I've read Chaos and The Information by him as well.

loraine

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #217 on: February 16, 2017, 09:38:24 PM »
I once read a book of Robin Sharma - Who will Cry when You Die. It was a real eye-opener. It changed the way I saw life and made me value everything around me even more. Another favorite of mine is To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.

catmustache

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #218 on: March 11, 2017, 10:18:11 AM »
I think all of the books I'd choose have already been mentioned (The Richest Man in Babylon, The Alchemist, etc.), except maybe for "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero. I recently happened on this one at an airport and it's been helpful in spurring me to focus on things that make me happy instead of dwelling on what I think I can't do.



marble_faun

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #219 on: March 12, 2017, 12:38:18 AM »
Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell. Classic pen portraits of somewhat eccentric characters in mid-century New York and elsewhere. To me Mitchell's writings are about observing, listening, and finding wonder in the everyday.
"Time flies pursue it Man. For why? thy days are but a Span."

Dictionary Time

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #220 on: March 12, 2017, 08:38:05 AM »
The Tightwad Gazette ~ Amy Dacyczyn

This book was my first introduction to frugality -- I grew up in a fairly well off family and had NO CLUE that there was another way to live when we were first married and started having kids. I had it recommended to me by a friend who I really admired. Changed my life! Quit my teaching job (+ dropped out of my 1/2 way completed M. Ed. program) and became a SAHM.

This is mine too. I don't know that I really recommend it to people to pick up. But it did change the trajectory of my life.

I was 17 and watching my Mom's roller-coaster relationship with money. No food, checks bouncing, brief relief and then back again. This showed me that it didn't have to be that way. The idea that I could have control and not be a victim of circumstance. Question everything and find your balance.

Rimu05

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #221 on: March 24, 2017, 09:18:00 AM »
Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
The River and The Source by Margaret Ogola
The Stranger - Albert Camus.
Meja Mwangi - Kill me Quick.

There are books though that I wouldn't describe as life changing but gave me a perspective on different things.

Eiji Yoshikawa's - Musashi, A Heike Story and Taiko
Metamorphosis - Kafka - This one just really strangely resonated and I don't quite know why. It's one I can't shake off.
Ngugi Wa Thiongo' - One of the most prolific authors from my home country who got snubbed for the Nobel prize in literature in favor of Bob Dylan. One of the most influential African authors around. A Kenyan treasure.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 09:23:40 AM by Rimu05 »

Icecreamarsenal

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #222 on: March 25, 2017, 08:27:31 AM »

I've read the first and last book above, both good picks--and realized "The Art of Learning" is by the same Joshua Waitzkin as described in "Searching for Bobby Fischer" (book and later movie). I've always wondered what happened to him!

He generally avoids the internet and all forms of media.  Tim Ferriss is the only person that seems to draw him out of hiding with any sort of regularity.

Yeah, the Ferriss interviews with him are both incredible. I highly recommend them. (Is there a third? If so, I've only listened to the first two)

You can meet him in person if you go to Marcelo Garcia's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym in Manhattan.
I've started training half a year now. Waitzkin has described BJJ as physical chess, and has obtained his black belt after a decade of training. He co-owns the gym. His two passions that I know of (of many, I'm sure) are chess and Brazilian jiu jitsu.


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kelvin

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #223 on: April 03, 2017, 07:23:44 AM »
Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland.
Freeland is a journalist and former editor of Times-Reuters who cut her teeth in the fall/privatization of the former USSR. The book completely changed my outlook on the global economy and where I fit in it. This should be required reading for all Millennials and anyone trying to give career advice to their kids.

In terms of fiction, I hoard any sci-fi or fantasy story where the main character Takes a Third Option. Ender's "The enemy gate is down" is a great example, anything involving Miles Vorkosigan is great, and I'm sure I'll think of others 20min after I hit "Post".

Edited: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TakeAThirdOption <<I can't get the href tag to work?

solon

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #224 on: April 03, 2017, 08:26:15 AM »
I have a "Mustache Pack" on my Kindle and in paper. I talk about them often, and give them out to anybody who asks.

Mustache Pack:
A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton Malkiel
Early Retirement Extreme, by Jacob Lund Fisker
Getting Things Done, by David Allen
The Simple Path to Wealth, by JL Collins
Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez
the MMM blog

Rubyvroom

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #225 on: April 03, 2017, 09:23:31 AM »
I see a lot of great titles listed here already. As I put together this list, I noticed most of these "life changer" books entered my life in my late teens/early 20s.

Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
Most Vonnegut books played a fairly prominent role in my life, none as important as this one though. I've probably re-read it 15 times. I remember my dad noticed I was reading it when I was 16 and he looked bewildered, like he was in a time warp, and told me he also read that book around my age. I once met a person with a tattoo of a quote from this book and I looked at him and said, "is that Vonnegut?" and he looked at me like I was the only person in the world that understood him. Love love love this book. Won't ever get rid of my tattered copy from Half Priced Books that I obtained as a teenager.

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand
Another life changer, probably because I read it when I was 19 or so. I'm not a huge Ayn Rand fan now as an adult, but this book will always hold a special place for me, especially when I crack it open and see what content 19-year-old-me underlined... I was a total destroyer of books at that age but I enjoy having insight into my mind at that age.

Siddhartha - Herman Hesse
Another one I re-read multiple times, well into my early 20s. It just really struck me at the time. It feels fuzzy in my mind now, having forgotten most of the story. I want to read it again now...

Walden - Henry David Thoreau; Self Reliance - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I smooshed these together because I was reading both of these around the same time and they may be to blame for some of my crazy, f-off into the desert to build an Earthship dreams.

Watership Down - Richard Adams
God I read some heavy shit as a young person... another favorite though, and I watched the movie adaptation many times as well.

You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense - Charles Bukowski
I distinctly remember picking up this book based on the title alone, and I loved it and went on to read a lot of poems from Bukowski. Bukowski was a poet and a self-proclaimed dirty old man, but dang, at that age (early 20s), he GETS ME.

Slanky - Mike Doughty
Soul Coughing was by far my favorite band growing up, so there was no question that I was going to dive into this book of poems by Doughty. I made sure I obtained an original copy of this book at a concert in my 20s and only regret now that I am no longer really enjoying his new music as an adult.

Gunslinger Series - Stephen King
And because apparently I allowed myself to read some "fun" books too, I would throw the Gunslinger series on the list, just because I could get lost for days in these books. I've re-read these books many times, despite  how lengthy they are. I see they are coming out with a movie this year as well so I'm excited to see how they might approach it.

Lenify

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #226 on: April 04, 2017, 12:13:17 AM »
The hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz

Adventine

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #227 on: April 04, 2017, 12:48:29 AM »
I have a "Mustache Pack" on my Kindle and in paper. I talk about them often, and give them out to anybody who asks.

Mustache Pack:
A Random Walk Down Wall Street, by Burton Malkiel
Early Retirement Extreme, by Jacob Lund Fisker
Getting Things Done, by David Allen
The Simple Path to Wealth, by JL Collins
Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

the MMM blog

Hello, solon! Mind sending me copies of the ones in bold text? :)

Stache-O-Lantern

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #228 on: April 09, 2017, 12:15:58 PM »


Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut
I once met a person with a tattoo of a quote from this book and I looked at him and said, "is that Vonnegut?" and he looked at me like I was the only person in the world that understood him. 

I read this in my early 20's and loved it at the time.  Read it again a few years ago and didn't find it as moving, but I'm still a big Vonnegut fan.  What was the tattoo quote?

Blueskies123

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #229 on: April 09, 2017, 12:35:20 PM »
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Rubyvroom

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #230 on: April 09, 2017, 05:35:10 PM »
I read this in my early 20's and loved it at the time.  Read it again a few years ago and didn't find it as moving, but I'm still a big Vonnegut fan.  What was the tattoo quote?

I find that happens to me with movies all the time. Movies I loved or thought were hilarious when I was young are now just kind of dull or annoying.

The quote was: "Earthlings went on being friendly, when they should have been thinking instead"

Writology

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #231 on: April 11, 2017, 12:52:58 PM »
Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter is a such kind of a book, I guess. I`ve read not as a child but beeing a mother of two daughters. And this story tought me to play the game "Joyfulness". It was the favourite game of a little girl. She taught me one thing: the little one can change the world if she or he believes. She believed. She did a great thing: she had chosen the town, her aunt and many others.

MaxiMaxi

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Re: What books have changed your life?
« Reply #232 on: April 13, 2017, 01:46:03 AM »
Maybe "Four Hour Work Week"by Tim Ferris