Friday, December 30, 2011

Ten Most Inspirational Books I've Read in My Life

While most books one reads generally fall away from memory after you are done with them, I have listed 10 books that I found particularly inspiring, transformative or thought provoking. For my religious friends, this is exclusively a secular list though several of these books speak about faith.

10. Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon, Chip Hilton by Claire Bee, Rick Brant by John Blaine, Tom Swift by Victor Appleton.
My # 10 is a series of books that helped a shy, skinny kid who had lost his father to a heart attack and needed some direction. Plus these books started me on my passion for reading. I got my homework done early so I could read these books.

A few decades ago and about 50 lbs. lighter, I used to jog and occasionally raced 5 and 10K races. Fixx was the running guru in the 70s. Geez, I remember a day where I jogged about 10 miles and was not tired.

8. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmshayli
I remember this wasn't an easy book to read. However flow became a mantra. Flow was described as a state where people experienced deep enjoyment, creativity and clarity. Within this state of flow, you lose all track of time. I experienced flow playing basketball or working on a project that interested me. Not enough activities generating flow now.

7. The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
Watts provides insights on “finding security and peace of mind in a world whose very nature is insecurity, impermanence and unceasing change.” This book was written in the 1950s but it’s wiser that any self-help book you can read today. I've underlined quite a bit of this book.

I admire people who are accomplished with many talents and various types of achievements. Those types of people are usually called Renaissance Men or Women. Gelb offers a guide to Renaissance living and pursuits.

Old men start wars and young men fight them. I found it very inspiring and gratifying to read about the education of a man who was a West Point graduate, Rhodes Scholar, a Ranger and an Officer who led men into battle in Afghanistan. I felt better about the prospects for America in the future. Hopefully future generations will do better than what the leaders of the Baby Boomer generation have accomplished.

4. The Way of the Ronin by Beverly Potter
A Ronin was a masterless samurai and warrior who depended entirely upon themselves and their own skills to survive in Japan’s feudal society. In most circles, they were considered outlaws. As anyone who has had the fortune (or misfortune) to “manage me” has learned I’m not the conventional employee type. I read this book in the early 1990’s and it changed my thinking about work, career and life balance.

This book is on my list not necessarily for any information or advice it offers. I found the questions very compelling, particularly those related as to what is living a good life. We have to decide what's best for ourselves. A great book for baby boomers reevaluating their lives and what to do next.

Diagnosed with ALS and given less than five years to live, Simmons accurately describes life as a “terminal condition.” His book opened me to new meanings of life. This book and the Barton book described below offer the insights of brave men facing death and how they have accepted their fates.

1. Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived by Lawrence Shames and Peter Barton
Peter Barton, while facing a cancer that would end his life, wrote a book on how to die but more importantly how to live. Barton offered a piece of advice that I wish I could accomplish in my life… “I promised myself that I would not have a bad day for the rest of my life. I f someone was wasting my time, I’d excuse myself and walk away. If a situation bothered me or refused to get resolved, I’d shrug and move on. I’d squander no energy on petty annoyances, poison no minutes with useless regret.”

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top 10 Non-Fiction Best Books of 2011

I've read a number of very good books this year. I have put together a list of books that are suitable for different tastes and interests for mostly men but for the well read woman too. I have not listed the books in terms of preference or ranking.

The trials and adventures of an American diplomat and his family in pre-war Nazi Germany.

Inside look at what's wrong with college sports and the NCAA.

Inside look at how to play high school football with Midwestern values and spirit.

The title describes the story within the book.

Excellently researched and written book about the events and people contributing to the economic meltdown.

What goes up must come down. Careers and fortunes spiral out of control. Great anecdotes about John Travolta, John McCain, Peter Max and other celebrities.

Sound analysis and ideas about our economic and political crises---not the junk you hear out of Washington or at the political debates.

A sobering reality check for baby boomers and older.

Fans of Conan O'Brien will like their man and how he handled his departure at NBC. Lots of dirt.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard.
Fascinating history and interesting details around the assassination of President James Garfield. Garfield had the potential to be one of our greatest Presidents.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The 10 Sexiest Women of All Time.

Men's Health published their list of the 100 Sexiest Women In History. My top 10 differs from their list.

Men’s Health                                        My Humble Opinion

10.       Angelina Jolie                                       Diana Rigg

9.         Jane Fonda                                           Jennifer Lopez

8.         Pamela Anderson                                 Angie Dickinson

7.         Bettie Page                                            Sophia Loren

6.         Ursula Andress                                      Pam Grier

5.         Madonna                                                Chris Evert

4.         Britney Spears                                      Heather Locklear

3.         Marilyn Monroe                                     Jennifer Aniston

2.         Raquel Welch                                       Christie Brinkley

1.         Jennifer Aniston                                    Raquel Welch