5 modern books that changed my life


Some books you forget immediately, but some stick with you. Some affect you so profoundly that years later you still think about them. They get under your skin and shape your future. Here’s my list:

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People This got me through years of W3C work, and still affects every human interaction I have.
  2. Gödel, Escher, Bach This book is impossible to describe in one line, but it will make you think. And re-read it. This book directly inspired my Hyperlink Offering article riffing on XLink and my fondness for predicates.
  3. Three Men in a Boat The funniest book I have read. Ever. But I actually read Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog first…
  4. Kicking the Sacred Cow Sometimes you need to think about the impermissible. Or understand why others do. This book inspired my XML Annoyances column.
  5. On Writing Stephen King’s “CV” (aka life history), writing tips, and harrowing description of his real-life near-death experience. This book influenced my choice of house to by–get one with an office…
  6. Calculus Made Easy I was originally given this book by my mentor, Virgil Matheson, when I was probably in the 6th grade. “What one fool can do, so can another,” the author opines. An utterly remarkable book that deflates the aura of complexity normally around higher maths.

OK, I guess that’s 6. Also, I would have to mention another that caused significant changes: XForms Essentials ;)

What’s on your list? -m

P.S. These links are Amazon affiliate links. If you buy some of them you will be helping support my terrible Amazon habit, now at around 50 pages a day.

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One Reply to “5 modern books that changed my life”

  1. Hello, definetly agree with your No1 in polish sounds: “Jak zdobywać przyjaciół i zjednywać sobie ludzi”. Dale really hit the point with very simple examples so close to us that we did not even expect it to be. I personally like the most when he arues with an old person amongst others and the admits that it was useless and everything comes down to ego and not right or wrong. I read this book every 6 months :D Greets from Poland, beautiful region, pls visit Micah ;)

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