It’s bold to write this, as I’m giving you a glimpse into my soul. I’m removing the wall that we often use to protect ourselves and going “all in” on being vulnerable. I’m not a massive reader, however my 40’s changed my appetite for learning about life from multiple perspectives. I read more and for the first time in my life really enjoyed it. Mesmerized by the words, content, flow of the book and the massive amount of knowledge I obtained; I was hooked!
These 5 books changed my perspective and made me a better human being. I still have a long way to go, but I’m moving in the right direction, most of the time!
1. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz was an instant winner for me. So much that I have read and reread parts of it many times. It’s an easy read, yet it is filled with stupendous wisdom that was once hidden and only share by a few. Today, this book on the wisdom of the Toltec Indians a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture that ruled a state centered in Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico, from 10th – 12th century.
They had a powerful code of contact that lifts joy and reduces self-doubt. Extremely powerful, enriching and life-changing. And, it works!
Mandela. Here, the name speaks for itself. Courage beyond comprehension, grit beyond belief and a wisdom that inspired me to be a better/stronger person in the face of adversity. I remember looking at myself in comparison and wondering how anyone could come close to him. Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to fighting racism, segregation, oppression, and exploitation, plus championing democracy, equality, and education. He was imprisoned for 27 years for his beliefs and vocal opposition of South Africa’s Apartheid – a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.
Intelligent, well-spoken and written in a voice that spans cultures and generations. He changed my perspective on how I, as a white male, can make a positive difference. I never forgot this.
3. Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda. I could add Oprah and Meryl Streep to this list as well as they have been inspiring me for decades. Fonda, is a combination of unbelievable honesty, compassion, talent, beauty, intelligence and a willingness to say what she believes no matter the consequences. Who wouldn’t want to be like that!
Now, in her 80’s, this woman still works, delivers rich content as an actor and walks the walk with regards to supporting women and all peoples’ struggles. A true champion of humanity, rights for all and a clever, witty and beautiful person.
4. Freakonomics- Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Freakonomics- Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. This book changed the way I look at things, many things! I love that. Basically, they peel back the layers of things showing us the hidden side of what school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common. Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What makes a perfect parent and so many more interesting topics. I was mesmerized by this book, and I learned a lot too. Partly intellectual, partly humorous and filled with facts, science and delicious knowledge I never knew existed. I can easily say that this book changed my perspective on life.
5. Starry Messenger-Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson
Starry Messenger-Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson is a cosmic perspective on civilization to which I was entertained, educated and reminded of how fragile Planet Earth and its inhabitants are. Funny, filled with cool data that widens the mind and brought down to a level that I could understand. It’s one part science, one part cosmic (which is awesome) and all parts about us; divided, together and part of Planet Earth. I love it because it forced me to look inward and literally outward to learn more about myself and my fellow human beings, animals, plants, oceans and the vastness of space.
Alone, any one of these 5 books will change your perspective on life in a positive way. Together, they are 5 gifts that made me a better person professionally and personally. I hope you enjoy!