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Books that changed or impacted you

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I know there have been a few of these threads in the past but I'm in need of some new inspiration.


I'm looking for book recommendations that have influenced your life in one way or another. Could be fiction or non fiction or self help. Even a cookbook, if it has changed how your family eats. :). Doesn't have to be deep or profound although those recommendations would be great!!!


I've recently finished listening to Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich and am looking for more books to throw on my iPod while I go about the daily grind.

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Okay, so you know about the Bible, I'm sure. And then our religion publishes a good number of books.


Past that. In the last year, my life has changed A LOT (for multiple reasons); and one huge change is because of Beyond Consequences, Love, and Logic (all three books). It is parenting and really for parents of very challenging (often, but not always, adopted) children. Completely paradigm shift and yet I didn't argue every other sentence!


Another was a book mentioned on here. Again, amazing! It is SUPER easy to read, LOTS of examples. It is Switch: How to change things when change is hard.

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On food:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin

Real Food: What To Eat and Why by Nina Planck

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon



I don't necessarily agree with every detail each of these authors promotes, but cumulatively these books have shaped my thinking about food, health, environmental stewardship and changed how we shop and live.

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Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

The Portable Coach by Thomas J. Leonard

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi


There are more, but these were the books that moved me to make several real, positive changes in my life with measurable results.

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The Lyttelton Hart Davis Letters -- reawakening a long-sleeping interest in literature

Guns Germs and Steel--so many ah HA moments

A Distant Mirror--opened my eyes to history, clear writing, human nature

Freedom From the Known--let me let go of anxiety (I was 21)

The Memoirs of Hadrian--Great writing, very, very well researched

Kristen Lavransdattar--the scope of life (I was 16)

The Joy Of Cooking--started it all

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I think I posted on the other thread, but several changed my life as a teacher, some as a child, some as an adult, some as a mother.

One was Emergent Curriculum. I just loaned it to our former seminarian who is now in charge of setting up and revamping her church preschool.


One Child, by Torey Hayden, about her experiences teaching emotionally disturbed children, was stunning, inspiring and wonderful.


I loved A Little Princess as a child. I read it over several years, as it was just above my level when I received it, but it became part of my life, I read it so often. It taught me that God can change the unchangeable, often thru others, and that anxiety over poor circumstances, while common and easy to fall into, is not the only response. One can act with grace even in the most graceless circumstances.


Also books I read as a child, the Little House books shaped me for years. I can quote from them, I read them so often, and then read them multiple times again to dd. I think they influenced my perceptions of family, response to hardship, and of course of the past and the pioneers.


Hinds Feet On High Places taught me much about suffering, and how God uses it to shape us. Things are not always as bleak they appear, even those awful or extremely difficult things, and no circumstance is beyond redemption.


The Poisonwood Bible showed me how we can get caught up in the ways things "ought to be," simply because that has been our only experience. It expanded my thinking, and, broke my heart.


Beloved, by Tony Morrison, educated me about aspects of slavery I never considered. That a woman would find slavery so devastating that she'd actually kill her child rather than have that child become a slave...that never occured to me, and I never, ever thought of it as "that bad." It really hit me hard. The beauty of Morrison's language amazed me, too.

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In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver (You said cookbooks were ok.)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne

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My dh became a different person after reading Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni. I haven't read it, but I would recommend it for anyone who was raised in a less-than-civil family and never quite learned basic rules of civility. (Though no one *here* needs anything like this, I'm sure. :lol:;))


The books that changed me would include Food as Medicine by Khalsa. I think there have been several books released in the past decade that do a better job than this of encouraging people to focus more on what goes into your body, but this book was the first "food book" I read and it at least got me out of the fast-food loop in which I seemed to be stuck. I was also impacted by Gladwell's The Tipping Point, a super easy read that left a lasting impression on me.


I can't think of any others right now, but I'm sure they will come to me.

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Hannah Whitall Smith's book The unselfishness of God and how I discovered it: a spiritual autobiography


Just make sure you read the one that doesn't edit out chapters 22 and 23 as current publishers have removed them. While she is a well loved Christian, current Christian editors prefer to remove these chapters as they aren't the most well accepted ideas that she contributed to Christianity. However, those are the best chapters, her third epoch.

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