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Life changing, awesome book suggestions, please!

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I need your book suggestions, please! What books do you feel are powerful enough to change people. If you were to compile a dream reading list for the entire world to read so we all could have a different perspective, become empowered and more tolerant, perhaps, and willing to be better people, neighbors, parents, etc. what would you want just your community to read?

You all are awesome, thanks!

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Karen Armstrong's comparative religion books, starting with A History of God.

I was just getting ready to start things off with this one! Perspective changing, for sure. I also loved The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. His Moth Smoke is on my all time favorite list but maybe not this list.

Another by Karen Armstrong would be 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life.

It is interesting thinking of these books in this way. It seems that I think of many books I wish everyone would read but I don't want anyone to accept any book hook, line and sinker. I want everyone to read all of them to come to their own conclusions. For instance, I am so happy I read Ayn Rand and I am definitely a libertarian. However, I am not an Ayn Rand fan. I believe in helping those who, for whatever reason, can't or won't help themselves. I am not so certain it should always be the government. Rand was sort of a jerk.

I want the whole community where I live to read a whole darn list.

Edited by Mad Charity
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Mere Christianity

Evidence that Demands a Verdict

How Shall we then Live?

The 5 Love Languages

Love and Respect

How to Study the Bible

A Mother's Touch

Well-Trained Mind

Home-Grown Kids

Better Late Than Early



...those are some of the heavy-hitters for me. They CHANGED my life.

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The Road Less Traveled, Peck

Your Money or Your Life, Robin

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Covey

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, Faber & Mazlish

Plain and Simple, Bender

Put Your Heart on Paper, Klauser

Shelter for the Spirit, Moran

Charlotte Mason Companion, Andreola

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Borg

Small is Beautiful, Schumacher

A Pattern Language, Alexander

Edited by MIch elle
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Meditations by Marcus Aurelius - not a difficult read, but great at looking at morality outside of a religious framework.


How to have Power and Confidence in Dealing with People - I think so many people have good ideas, they just don't know how to communicate them well.

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Father Arseny


From the book description: "It is one of the great mysteries of life that in atmospheres of the harshest cruelty, a certain few not only survive but emerge as beacons of light and life. Father Arseny, former scholar of church art, became Prisoner No. 18736 in the brutal 'special sector' of the Soviet prison camp system. In the darkness of systematic degradation of body and soul, he shone with the light of Christ's peace and compassion. His sights set on God and his life grounded in the Church, Father Arseny lived by injunction to 'bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ' (Galatians 6:2)."

Whether Christian or not, this book provides a wonderful picture of humility and love in the face of an extremely tough situation. People want and need to be loved. If [western] Christian, it provides a beautiful example of the life of an eastern Christian.

Edited by milovaný
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Queen Bees and Wannabees


Oh yes. That book put into words all those things I had mostly blocked from my memory.


My contribution to the list is this pagan book. Yes, I'm tripping off current threads around here. I'm ok with people thinking paganism is wrong because most religions think others are wrong. I'm not ok with the fear based on fairy tales. (It's against my religion ;) )


The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.


I think 'Veronika decides to Die,' by the same author is more powerful.


I'm adding a few books to my amazon wishlist. Thanks people! :)



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Personalism by Emmanuel Mounier

Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (anything by him really)

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset (anything by her as well)

He Leadeth Me by Walter Ciszek, SJ

Happy Are You Poor by Thomas Dubay

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn

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I am getting a lot o reading ideas from these responses. Here are some books (and one video) that have deeply impressed me over the years:


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wood

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Cruncy Cons by Rod Dreher

Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend

The Healing Path by Dan Allender

The Search for Significance by Robert McGee

Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Sally Clarkson

Dr. Art's Guide to Planet Earth by Art Sussman

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


Bible Studies that change lives:

Precept by Precept studies - from Precept Ministries International (Kay Arthur). In particular: Covenant, Kinsman Redeemer, Romans and Hebrews

Disciples Prayer Life: Walking in Fellowship with God by T.W. Hunt


A video:

Achieving Your Childhood Dreams (also known as "The Last Lecture") by Randy Pausch - the book is good, but the video is more powerful, IMO. It's on youtube.

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You all are so awesome. I read these to my husband this morning and he loved them, too. We are now installing shelves in our office and stocking a lot of these books there. I am also starting a new book club and I want the theme to be books that change a life, a culture, a community, a world... I am not religious, this will be fun! ;) please keep the suggestions coming, I am adding to it all day, too.

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Here are 2 other great ones on Mother Teresa...the first one definitely changed me.






I also second "Hold On To Your Kids." It explained so much about my own childhood and really resonated with me.

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The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah W. Smith absolutely changed my perspective on God and spirituality in wonderful ways. I can't wait to go back and read the responses.


Hinds Feet on High Places, also by Smith, is a life-changer for me. Puts suffering into a new "frame."


Celebration of Discipline is one of my favs--talks about how the disciplined Christian life (traditional disciplines--fasting, prayer, etc) come from relationship with Christ, not just the other way around.


Sylvia Ashton Warner's education books, esp Spearpoint were instrumental in my development as a teacher, as was One Child, by Torey Hayden.


Can't remember the title, but one of the many Bonhoffer bios was really thought-provoking.


It's hard to say what I'd want my community to read--very individual. I have handed out several copies of Evidence That Demands A Verdict, The Archeological Bible, and One Thousand Gifts lately, tho, so I can say those have greatly impacted me.

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The Bible

Concordia--reader's edition of the Lutheran Confessions


That Hideous Strength


Girl Meets God

Nothing to Fear and Business By The Book by Larry Burkett

Mitten Strings for God

Becoming the Parent You Want To Be

The Berkeley Student Revolt

An Old Fashioned Girl (Alcott)

The World is Flat

Revolution From Within

Julius Caesar


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The one that I thought of that wasn't listed yet was If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. I feel like that is the best book about supporting the creative process within us (it's not just about writing) that I've ever read - especially for women, but really for everyone.

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Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster)

Easy To Love, Difficult to Discipline

Sermon on the Mount (Emmot Fox)

Alcoholics Anonymous

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Properously

Jonathan Livingston Seagul

Gift From The Sea

A Wrinkle In Time

A Woman's Worth

Why We Get Fat (Or Good Calories/Bad Calories)

Zero to Zillionaire

The Well Trained Mind (an earlier edition)

Protecting the Gift



Some other "new age" stuff I do not wish to mention

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