Seven Books That Impacted My Life


Books have been an essential part of my life since my sophomore year in high school. Before that time I read, but I became a voracious reader once my sophomore English teacher, Glenn Taylor, introduced me to quality books that had could have a more profound effect on me than Mickey Mantle’s biography.

So, I’ve painfully narrowed my list down to seven books that improved, changed my life, or gave me a renewed perspective on life. I’ll start in reverse order:

# 7 The Source by James Michener
This book was my first venture into James Michener. His books are thick, full of accurate and unique research, historically accurate, yet novels. In this one, Michener traces the profound history of the Jewish people from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, the Crusades, to the founding of the nation of Israel and more. He’s a master, and I’ve subsequently read more than a dozen of his books.

# 6 Hondo by Louis L’Amour
While this wasn’t my first Louie L’Amour book, it’s one of his best short novels. L’Amour was a remarkable man who used his varied background and impeccable research to tell stories. He came from an era of niche magazine publishing that gave writers specific word counts for their articles. From that experience, L’Amour learned to develop characters, plots, themes, and storytelling succinctly. His ability has affected my writing as I try to focus on the writing principles he deftly used.

# 5 Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson
Scott Jeffrey, my coach, and a friend introduced me to this “anything but” a children’s book. It’s a book of wonder and excitement. It’s a book that helps you open your creative mind as Harold and his crayon travel through woods and across seas. It’s an inspirational book that I turn to whenever I feel creatively stuck.

# 4 In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
I’ve read countless business books but this one, perhaps the forerunner of modern management books, profoundly changed me and my approach to how I do business. It was not long after it was released that I had my whole team read this book. We worked hard to use his principles in our company, and I feel we succeeded by improving many areas of the business. Peter’s book was a breakthrough and a focus on innovation, creativity, and doing things right.

# 3 Personality Plus by Florence Littauer
I was involved in a one-day management off-site meeting and introduced to the DISC test and the concept of how the knowledge of temperaments could be useful to know myself as well as effectively lead other people. Florence’s book made the transition to this concept simple and easy. I had the privilege of later working with Florence on a couple of other books as well as her CLASS seminars where I became more deeply ingrained with how to best support my team by knowing their individual temperaments and effectively communicating and leading them. While Myers-Briggs is now my preferred temperament assessment tool, this book put me on the road to better leadership and a better understanding of myself and the people around me.

# 2 Jeeves and Wooster Series by P. G. Wodehouse
This book series along with Casino Royale was the books first recommended to me by Glenn Taylor in sophomore English class. He took the time to know me and what I liked and came in one day with book 1 in the Jeeves/Wooster series as well as the Ian Fleming classic. I devoured them. I choose Wodehouse here because his books opened the door to so many wonderful British writers like Agatha Christie, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, and so many others.

# 1 The Bible
My wife gave me my first Bible for Christmas in either 1979 or 1980. While I had read the Bible in a college literature class, the message of redemption and hope that’s between its pages never resonated until I received this gift and began to dig deeper into it. I could not stop reading it, and it changed my life forever as I came to understand and apply the Gospel message to my life. It’s THE book I never lose interest in reading, studying and teaching. It’s the ONE book that if you give it time, it will change your life as well.

I’d enjoy knowing what books changed your life. Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

PS: Here’s a link to my latest book.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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