5 (more) books that changed my life

Here are a list of 5 other books that have changed my life. Note that they are not in any type of order, the first is not more important than the third and so on, each of these has had a lasting effect on me for reasons I will share. At dinner tonight I was having a conversation with my buddy Frank and his wife Candice about how many places I have lived and Frank pointed out that his organizer has three pages of addresses crossed out for me. I told him to wake up and realize no one carries an organizer anymore.

OK, the next five books:

#6 Rogue Warrior by Richard Marcinko and John Weisman – Marcinko was the Commander of Navy SEAL Team 2 and the founder of SEAL Team 6. After 6 he lead a small hand picked team, often called “Red Cell,” which went to Naval bases around the world to test their anti-terrorist capabilities. He would visit the Commander of the base, say that his team would be running a drill sometime within a set time line and then leave. His tactics were unorthodox, just like the terrorist and he embarrassed quite a few Admirals. Marcinko’s book is written in the cadence and flavor of a sailor. Colourful terms like “goatfuck” are liberally used. It reads like a thick, rare steak and baked potato followed by a Bombay Sapphire on the rocks…or three. He taught me to not only think outside the box, but to know how to blow the shit out of the other guys box and fuck up his plans before he can fuck up mine. Marcinko landed in all kinds of trouble because some of the things he wrote about were not declassified when he wrote the book. The Navy filed suit and made him sign a contract that he would not write another book about his past, and he didn’t… He went on to write 13 fiction novels, all based off of his expirence, two leadership books and a non-fiction book about members of his teams. The movie “Navy SEALS” with Charlie Sheen was loosely based on his work, and he has collaborated on movies like “GI Jane” and “The Rock” and TV shows, like “24.” His catch phrase is “Doom on you.” (Google that, it’s funny)

#7 The Vehicle-Dependent Expedition Guide by Tom Sheppard – This is by far my favorite book in the entire world. It is pure expedition porn at its best. It reads like dry oatmeal covering things like the effects of water alkalinity, practical design features in clothing, fabric absorbability and radio wave propagation. It also has a large section on vehicle choice for different expeditions. Sprinkled in the mix are true stories from Tom’s own treks around the globe. In the late 80’s I heard of a multi national expedition sponsored by Camel cigarettes that slogged through the jungles of Madagascar in specially outfitted Range Rovers. Over the years I followed the progress of what was called the Camel Trophy, the Olympics of off road driving, and fell in love with Land Rover. I left a lucrative career in computer networking to work for Land Rover. Through them I had the chance to travel extensively, see places that most people only will ever see on a screen saver: Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, England, Ireland, Mongolia, Russia and China. (The GPS said we were in Russia. Didn’t get a stamp in my passport, but it was cool to look around and say “Dude, we’re in Russia!”) This book was partially published by Rover, so we all got advanced copies. Mine is beat up and dog eared and has been dropped in streams and used as a pillow and has spurned more crazy adventures because possession of it on an expedition has made me look like I knew what the hell I was talking about. (I’ll tell you about the alligator and the prostitutes in the bar someday…)

#8 Knots: Useful and Ornamental by George Russell Shaw – My Grandfather gave me this book after I talked to him about tying a knot that I had tied and it had come loose. This book taught me how to use rope in ways that most people wouldn’t think of. He helped me to get countless merit badges in the Boy Scouts. It has aided a life of adventure and risk with travel, horses and anything else where I could tie something. Today I have leaves pressed in it from all over the US. I have taken great care of it. It still has its original paper jacket on it. This book was published in 1924.

#9 As a Man Thinketh by James Allen – This book taught me “Man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition environment and destiny” which meant that I was in total control of myself and how I perceived my surroundings. It goes on to describe a persons mind like a garden that has to be taken care of: you have to turn the soil, plant the right thoughts and care for them as they grow, if you see weeds, or bad thoughts, you have to pluck them out. Feed your garden and it will feed you. Feed you mind, and it will feed you too.

#10 How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – Quite simply THE book on relationships. If you have never read this book, it is no wonder people look at you funny. I think everyone should get this book in school. Like in the first or second grade. Learn to spell, and read How to Win Friends and Influence People. There is nothing bad or wrong or negative anyone can, could or would say about this book. This book has helped me to relate to people all over the world. Even the ones I didn’t share a spoken language with. This is the book I read over and over.

These are just a few of the books that have made a big difference in my little world.

Read. It makes you a better person. I encourage you to read, give and share a book.

Words change things.



3 Responses to “5 (more) books that changed my life”

  1. As a Man Thinketh is a great book and changed my life too! If your readers are interested, I’d recommend they go to http://www.jamesallenlibrary.com/as-a-man-thinketh.html where they can read or listen to it online for free!

  2. When they send me to the island, and I can only take one book, this is the one I will take.

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