- Books, Literature, and Writing
Top 10 books that I have ever read
Once I asked myself which are the best books I have ever read. Of course, such a question is very general since books influence us on many ways. In spite of the fact that "the best" cannot be precisely defined, I made my "top 10" list relatively fast.
It can be said that in my choice I was primarily led by two criterion: how a book is inspirational and usefulness of it. If I put literary aesthetic on first, the list would probably be different. I am really benefited from these books. Some of these are not only for reading but can serve almost as an manual.
For a longer time I think to write an article about these tales, and I was encouraged in my intention when I noticed other hubs on similar subject. The following is my list of the 10 best books I have ever read. The list is numbered but it doesn't means a strict order among the titles.
Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings? - which stories do you prefer?
10. J.R.R.Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings
It seems that some scholars don't appreciate this book of immense popularity, because of its fantasy genre. But for me it is one of the best tale I have ever read.
Once I read a review where is said that the book has only one fault – it is too short; and I fully agree. The trilogy consists of titles
- The Fellowship of the Ring,
- The Two Towers and
- Return of the King.
The story begins with a scene of firework in owner to Bilbo's leaving. The reader is introduced to the hobbit and their habits. We met the main characters, including Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Gandalf the Gray... and a nice fairy tale for everybody begins.
In my opinion, in this case book is better then movie. Simply, there are many scenes, especially with a battle, which become too concrete in the screen version. Of course, film has other advantages, incredible music among the others - as this beautiful song illustrates (see video above).
Reportedly, once Tolkien came to a publishing house to offer his writing about a ring, hobbit and other creatures. The house was run by father who was absent at the moment and his son. Son had received Tolkien and promised to inform father about the possible deal. “The book is masterpiece but nobody will buy it!”, said son later to his father. “What would be the expected loss?”, ask father. After the estimation and calculation the decision is made: “We can afford this loss!”. As we know, the rest is history: trilogy The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular tale ever written, the book that is declared the book of the century in some polls and best seller as few!
9. Lew Wallace: Ben Hur
While a Roman troop passed by Ben Hur's palace, accidentally one roofing tile fell on a solder. That was enough for Messala to sent Ben Hur on a galley as a slave and to jail his sister and mother.
One of the messages of the author could be that miracles do happen if faith is strong. During the naval battle Ben Hur is unbelievably freed, become a Roman citizen and at least wins Messala in the horse race.
The author touches other topics as well. It is emphasized that the only enhancement of whole society is possible if one tends to enhance oneself instead of the others. In my opinion, the book is more realistic than movie.
8. Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
While his officers discussing whether to defend Moscow or retreat their troops, he had no any doubt. He was interested in only one question: when did it happen that Moscow should be left in the hands of Napoleon. He was marshal Mikhail Kutuzov and this is one of the historical moments which are very realistically depicted in the book.
In addition to literary value, War and Peace is a document of historical events. Tolstoy spent 5 years working on this title, so it is no wander that today's historians price the book as a historical source. But Tolstoy is very angry on superficial explanation of history. During the whole book, especially in the second part, he try to understand how come, and what are real reasons and what is responsibility of every person, that nations sank to war.
But as the title suggest, the book is far away to be only about war. It is really amazing haw many different subjects Tolstoy analyse in his masterpiece. Many are attracted by Natasha and Andrei's love story, among the other layered review of characters. A huge source of inspiration and learning.
7. Victor Frankl: A Life Worth Living
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist who survive the Holocaust. In first part of the book he clearly describe his captivity in concentration camp during the Second World War, while in the second part the author try to generalize his experience from an psychiatrist point of view.
Although I had opinion that the book could be very difficult to read, I couldn't avoid temptation since many cite it and praise it. And I had not regretted, the book provides deeper understanding of human nature and life.
6. Bill Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything
This book provides clear evidences that science is not boring at all. Especially in the past, scientific work sometimes converted literally to a real adventure. Understanding the Solar System, the universe, the world of atoms, life and its origin are the major subjects of the book.
The author presents many great discoveries in very interesting and funny style. He specially emphasise the history of these ideas and the path to the discovery. The story of reverend Evans who once discovered more supernovae stars than all other observatories is the only one example. Breathtaking reading for everyone.
5. G.Dryden and J.Vos: The Learning Revolution
I must admit that people to whom I recommend this book was no as amazed with the content as me. :-) Might it is expected that a former teacher will be fascinated with such a book. However, the matter is fully general and is not related only to students.
The book is full of inspirational quotes, success stories and many other ideas. Interestingly, the book can be read in two ways, fast and normally. Namely, on every left page there is some kind of resume on the other page; and even reading only these sketch one can get a fine insight into the matter. In addition to fast reading the book deals with mental maps and many other interesting techniques that enhance our learning and understanding.
4. Daniel Goleman: Emotional Intelligence
Under the concept of intelligence we usually understand mathematical, logical and similar academic ability. However, it seems that our success and happiness much more depend on emotional intelligence than on our IQ.
I would say that concept in everyday use which is closest to emotional intelligence would be maturity. The book is about how to reduce a gap between our intellect and our emotions, i.e. in general to improve our emotional intelligence.
Having in mind that we are mostly driven by emotions, that we make our decision actually on emotional level this is very valuable book. There is also similar title by the same author, Working with Emotional Intelligence.
3. Erich Fromm: The Art of Loving
I was in dilemma between two Fromm's books for this list, this one and To have or to be. Both are extraordinary titles, which deserve repeated reading.
In my opinion, this book touches both philosophy and psychology. The matter is presented very clearly with many concrete illustration. It is a powerfull work that forces us to think.
According to this book, in a "perfect organization" there is no need for meetings – because everybody knows what is his task. :-) One of the best (the most useful) book I've ever read, with many inspirational examples from real world to learn from. The book is far away of "typical managerial book" since it tell us how to manage with ourselves.
2. Peter F. Drucker: The Effective Executive
One can get a great benefit from this book, regardless he or she do some managerial or completely different type of job. As Drucker says, this book don't deal with managing other people, but oneself. This ability is essential, since we cannot possibly expect to manage anything if we do not manage ourselves.
Hopefully, effectiveness can be learned as it is shown in this P.Drucker's masterpiece. An extraordinary value of the book are examples from real life. I will never forget a story on a nurse who was able to put very high standards for the whole hospital. Even years after her retirement, every meeting in this hospital finish with words "Are we give all the best in this situation...?". No less impressive is a story of an executive who always works in blocks of 1.5 hour continuously, without any break by phone or mail.
Peter Drucker's work is appreciated as the most prestigious in the modern management theory. Unlike his colleagues Drucker never worked as an executive in a company but develop an university career. While his books are rich in concrete examples Drucker is devoted to the question of the purpose of business in society.
1. Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Although the title sounds attractive possibly suggesting a tale easy to read, the matter is very serious. The book can be counted in self-help literature, but the author goes much deeper with understanding then it would be an usual case.
S. Covey, one of the most influential American writers, here presents seven powerful principles. In the book, there are many inspirational stories that illustrate those principles. Every section finishes with exercises. In my opinion, this is a book that opens new horizons. However, as the author says in the first pages of the book, it seems that we are ready for improvement only when face some concrete problem.