Living Out Loud

15 Books with the Most Impact

The original cover of the book, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I think you can figure out a lot about a person if you know what books have had the most impact on them. At one point or another, each of these books was my current favorite. They all had a lasting impact on me. I'd love to see your list. It doesn't have to be 15 books and you don't need to be impressive (although if you really loved War and Peace, by all means list it). If you make a list, let me know and I will add a link to it.

  1. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth (motion study?)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (thanks, Mom!)
  3. Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi (in 5th grade!)
  4. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein (the first of many SciFi books)
  5. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (changed my life)
  6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (best…novel…ever)
  7. From Here to Eternity by James Jones (pre WW2 Hawaii)
  8. The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter (about turn of the 20th century baseball players)
  9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (planted a seed in my character)
  10. Fields of Fire by James Webb (Vietnam novel by the Virginia senator)
  11. Woodie Guthrie, A Life by Joe Klein (recommended by Bruce Springsteen)
  12. The Rider by Tim Krabbé (a novel about cycling)
  13. Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill W. and others (life saving)
  14. The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hahn
  15. The New Centurions by Joseph Wambaugh (the best police procedural writer ever)


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