First of all I want to recognize those exceptional books that members have listed that aren't on my list but I agree are important books. I was
ecstatic to see people have read The Book of Five Rings, as this book is a key to understanding success, and to understanding Japanese culture. I'm
happy to see Mere Christianity mentioned a few times, I see people like to go deeper into the thinking of C.S. Lewis's works than just his novels.
And now for my list, while some people have said picking their 5 books was impossibly difficult and their 5 books are constantly changing, these 5
books have always been my top 5 as they all immediately had a profound effect on me. I included 5 completely different types of books covering 5
different topics including philosophy, science, military, politics to an extent, wisdom, and adventure. These books are all very readable as I read
them all in high school, you should be able to breeze through all of them except The Fabric of the Cosmos, becuase this book is very long and will
probably take a while to grasp all of the abstract scientific concepts. Enjoy..
1) Bushido, The Soul of Japan
by Inazo Nitobe
This book covers the former unwritten code of the samurai, and connects it to the western world around the time of Theodore Roosevelt. My favorite
book of all time, here's a quote from the book:
"Men have divided the world into heathen and Christian, without considering how much good may have been hidden in the one or how much evil may
have been mingled with the other. They have compared the best part of themselves with the worse of their neighbors, the ideal of Christianity with the
corruption of Greece or of the East."
To me this book is a must read for everyone, even if you aren't interested in studying the samurai, it's also a study of yourself. Here is a link to
the full online version of the book: www.sacred-texts.com...
*Shout out to The Book of Five Rings, that is an excellent follow up book to this book.
2) The Fabric of the Cosmos
by Brian Greene
This book explores the boundaries of modern physics and explains our current understanding of physical reality. For someone not familiar with the
abstract laws of cosmology and quantum physics, this book will shake your world view, and expand every aspect of your philosophy on life. quote from
"When you learn these different features of the universe, it changes your perspective on what it means to be alive. What it means to be part
of the universe, since the whole notion of the universe is so beyond what experience would lead you to believe."
3) Absolutely American
by David Lipsky
This book explores the lives of several cadets going through 4 years at West Point. It shows how cadets who are deprived of the freedoms that normal
college kids enjoy are often just as happy or happier than the typical college student, both during their stay at West Point and after they are
commissioned as an officer. This book will also explain the multitude of different reasons why Americans are joining the U.S. Officer Corps, and shows
that young men and women don't necessarily have to have fun in order to be happy.
"They seem mentally fit, mentally scrubbed; I've never seen less depressed kids. It turns out that dressing like everyone else, sharing
identical experiences, and being told you're on a mission of importance to the whole country does wonders for the teenage soul."
I am not religious, and I am not particularly a fan of the Bible, but I am a fan of this one book in the Bible. This book is often referred to as the
book of wisdom, as it takes a wise person to understand and internalize what this book says. There is a continuing theme throughout this short book,
that "there is nothing new under the sun," and once you can accept what this book says you certainly will be a wiser person.
"the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise, or wealth to the brilliant, or favor to the
learned, but time and chance happen to them all."
5) The Well of Eternity
by Richard Knaak
Well how about I throw a novel in here, and a novel you probably haven't heard of at that. This book is about the journey back in time of a dragon
mage, a human wizard, and a veteran orc warrior into the world of Azeroth at the height of Night Elven civilization. In case you haven't caught on,
this is a book based on Warcraft, but when I read it, I was surprised to find how profoundly it affected my thinking. This book explores the careless
and ignorant nature of Night Elven civilization right before the invasion of the Burning Legion, and you can draw immediate connections between Night
Elven civilization and America today. This book also makes you think about the concept of time travel, the conflict between good and evil if there is
such a thing, and it raises the point that maybe Gods are not so invincible after all. The book summary:
"In the first chapter of this epic trilogy, the outcome of the historic War of the Ancients is forever altered by the arrival of three
time-lost heroes: Krasus, the dragon mage whose great power and memories of the ancient conflict have inexplicably diminished; the human wizard
Rhonin, whose thoughts are divided between his family and the seductive source of his now-growing power; and Broxigar, a weathered orc veteran who
seeks a glorious death in combat. But unless these unlikely allies can convince the demigod, Cenarius, and the untrusting night elves of their
queen's treachery, the burning Legion's gateway into Azeroth will open anew. And this time -- the struggles of the past may well spill over into the