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Some of the most influential books

 
Max Habibi
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in your life?

I'd have to go with Les Miserables, The Fountainhead, and 1984.
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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1984

Brave New World

A book about the "Game of Life" called "The Recursive Universe"

Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

Kernighan and Pike's "The UNIX Programming Environment"

H.G. Well's "The Time Machine"

"Java Regular Expressions" by Mehran Habibi
 
Arjunkumar Shastry
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"The Art of computer programming(part 1/2/3)" by Donald Knuth.
and they are influential.

[ October 27, 2005: Message edited by: Arjunkumar Shastry ]
 
John Smith
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"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig
"The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" by Carlos Castaneda
"The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut
"Effective Java" by Josh Bloch
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by John Smith:
"Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig
"The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" by Carlos Castaneda
"The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut
"Effective Java" by Josh Bloch


I've heard a lot of people mention The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Can you tell me a bit about it? What, in particular, did you see in it?
 
fred rosenberger
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ok, this is gonna sound dumb, but "On a Pale Horse", by Piers Anthony. Not what i would call a GOOD book, but it really made me think about god, religion and my beliefs. Granted, i was (i think) a freshman in high school, so my bar for quality reading was not very high...
 
John Smith
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I've heard a lot of people mention The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge. Can you tell me a bit about it? What, in particular, did you see in it?

It opened the other dimension in "what's life?" that I never thought even existed. Not sure how to explain it in any other way.
 
Max Habibi
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That's a pretty good endorsement. Ordered from amazon for $3.83, including shipping.

M
 
Sara Jahan
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"Fountainhead" - More so coz I was 16 when I read it.

"In Search of the Gods" - Written by Erich Von Daniken - Some of his theories ring so true. May be they are true.

"The Spirit of C: An Introduction to Modern Programming" - This book taught me how to "think in C" or rather think programatically. I didn't have any probs in picking up Java becoz of my grounding in C.
 
Peter Rooke
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"The C Programming Language" - K & R.
"Modern Structured Programming" - Ed Yourdon
"Peopleware" - Tom Demarco & Timothy Lister
"HFDP" - you know who who wrote this!
------------------------------------------------------
"Catch 22" - Joseph Heller
"A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
"Totem and Taboo" - Sigmund Freud
First few pages of "The Wealth of Nations" - Adam Smith.
 
Marc Peabody
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Holy Bible
Dating with Integrity
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
 
Bert Bates
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Lots of great titles already, which I won't repeat, but here are a few more:

The 2nd and 3rd Casteneda books
Illusions - Bach
Sometimes a Great Notion - Kesey
Lord of the Rings
Machine Beauty - Gelernter
Ender's Game - Card
Crack in the Cosmic Egg - Pearce ?
The Monkey Wrench Gang - Abbey

...
 
Jim Yingst
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  • Various Robert Heinlein novels in my teens - particularly Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and Stranger in a Strange Land in close succession
  • The Blind Watchmaker - Richard Dawkins
  • Physics (3rd Ed) - Halliday & Resnick
  • A Brief History of Time - Steven Hawking
  • Code Complete - Steve McConnell
  • The Pragmatic Programmer - Andrew Hunt & Dave Thomas
  • Effective Java - Joshua Bloch


  • I'll also add an endorsement to Fred's for Piers Anthony's On A Pale Horse, which was surprisingly interesting (as Fred indicates, not so much great as thought-provoking) long after I'd outgrown Anthony's other works (well, the tiresome Xanth novels in particular). And I agree with various other suggestions like 1984 and Ender's Game too. I'm just singling out the Anthony because it's less widely recognized, IMO.
    [ October 28, 2005: Message edited by: Jim Yingst ]
     
    Gerald Davis
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    George Orwell�s 1984
    Mark fowler�s Design Patters (I still hate OOP though )
    Harry Potter
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Pride and prejudice
     
    soumya ravindranath
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    One of the many,

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy ( Now I don't panic come what may )
     
    Reza Ravasizadeh
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    chemist (paulo coelho)
     
    Mani Ram
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  • G�del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter
  • Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices by Robert C. Martin
  • Effective Java Programming Language Guide by Joshua Bloch
  • Mahabharata & Bhagavad Gita


  • [ October 28, 2005: Message edited by: Mani Ram ]
     
    Devesh H Rao
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    1.Bhagwad Gita
    2.Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead, We the living.
    3.Garfield
     
    Dave Lenton
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    If anyone says "The Da Vinci Code" then there's going to be trouble
     
    Manish Hatwalne
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    Another "waht a topic" thread...

    Here is my list (I'll skip sotware books for now)

    (1) Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    (2) Illusions, Johnathan... and some other Richard Bach books when I was younger.
    (3) I was also impressed by Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged and "things as they ought to be..." sort of theory of Ayn Rand, but of late I have grown into a different person, and I do have my reservations and objections about these books. Knowing Ayn Rand's history I can now understand where she was coming from. but honstly now I feel she has screwed up American way of thinking upto a great extent, there is much more to life -- acceptance & tolerance are important as well!!! (don't want to start a flame as such, take appropriately, that way of thinkin applies to many post-modern Indians as well). Nevertheless those books were very influential at point of time.
    (4) RET by Dr Albert Elis and some books based on his theory in regional languages -- stil trying to understand the stuff.
    (5) 1984 & Animal Farm by George Orwell.

    More later.....

    - Manish
    [ October 28, 2005: Message edited by: Manish Hatwalne ]
     
    Amol Fuke
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    My Autobiography - M.K. Gandhi
    Partner - V.P. Kale
    Vapurza - V.P. Kale
     
    Jim Yingst
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    [Dave Lenton]: If anyone says "The Da Vinci Code" then there's going to be trouble

    Well, now we know what to get Dave for Christmas.
     
    Mark Spritzler
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    Originally posted by John Smith:
    "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
    "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig
    "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" by Carlos Castaneda
    "The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut
    "Effective Java" by Josh Bloch


    I like three of your choices, the first one if my all-time favorite. I haven't read Zen or Don Juan.

    Anything by Vonnegut is tops on my list.

    Others

    "Setting Free the Bears" and "Life According to Garp" by John Irving.

    "Code Complete" by Steve McConnel
    "Design Patterns" GOF.

    Mark
     
    Gary Jones
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    The Miracles of Mindfullness - Thich Nath Than
    Life of Pi - Yann Martell
    My Experiments with Truth - Mahatma Gandhi
     
    Sameer Jamal
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    Science
    Brief History of Time, Stephan Hawking
    Cosmos, Carl Segan

    Literature
    Saadat Hasan Manto's Stories
    Mother, Maxim Gorki
    Mopasa
    Freedom at Midnight


    Other
    Opertaing System Concept by Silberschatz
    [ October 29, 2005: Message edited by: Sameer Jamal ]
     
    Jesus Angeles
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    any comments on book by gof on design patterns...is it a must read?
     
    Jesus Angeles
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    so far,

    Head First jsp and servlets
    Head First ejb
     
    Henry Wong
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    Well, for computer books, it is probably an outdated book called "software tools" by Brian Kernighan.

    The code in the book are actually built using an obscure language called "ratfor". You would think that is would hurt the book -- until you realize that the book is about building simple components, and building on those components, and so on, and so on. By the time, you get to the last example in the book, you have built a ratfor to fortran pre-processor.

    Henry
     
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    Dostoevsky's novels. I read them as a teenager, so they influenced me when I wasn't able to resist. Also, most of Erich Fromm works, that's later. Karl Popper's The Logic of Scientific Discovery -- it taught me to start disproving my theory immediately after I formulated it.
     
    Anand Prabhu
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    1) The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.
    2) Cosmos by Carl Sagan.
    3) Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
    4) Physics 1 & 2 by Resnick and Halliday
    5) Feynman's lectures by Richard Feynman
    6) Harry Potter books
    7) The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
    8) Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
     
    Michael Ernest
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    Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, GMH
    Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
    Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
    Human Wishes, Robert Hass
    Slouching towards Bethlehem and The White Album, Joan Didion
    Reporting: The Rolling Stone Style, Wenner et al
    Painting and Experience in 15th Century Italy, Michael Baxandall
    Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    The Wife of Bath's Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer
    The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
    Ringworld, Larry Niven
    The Mythical Man-Month, Frederick Brooks

    It'd be a different list depending on when I thought about it. Asking the most influential book is rather like asking what's the most life-giving water you've drunk.
     
    Dave Lenton
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    Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
    It'd be a different list depending on when I thought about it. Asking the most influential book is rather like asking what's the most life-giving water you've drunk.

    Absolutely. When I initially read this thread I started thinking about the books that I thought had influenced me, and then some more... and then some more... eventually ending up with a list far too long to post. I came to the conclusion that every book I've read has influenced me in some way, even if only in a very small way. Even the stupid Da Vinci book.

    Some books have more influence then others though. If we were to define "most influential book" as a book which caused the most change then I can probably point to one particular book, but then I can't remember what it is called or who wrote it! When I was 6 years old I was involved in a small school lunch time tooth-embedding-in-my-head incident and had to spend my lunch break mopping the blood up as it dripped down my face. In order to keep me sitting still and not getting too bored by the mopping process, a teacher gave me a children's astronomy book to read.

    Before reading this book I'd never really considered the universe outside of my local environment, but this book completely blew me away. It was probably the first time that I'd realised quite how much stuff was out there, how amazing it was, and how insignificant my entire world was in comparison with it. Descriptions of stars, planets, galaxies and so on were so utterly amazing and different from anything else I'd ever read about that I found it fascinating.

    Since then I've been hooked. Astronomy remains an interest of mine, and has influenced a lot of the stuff I've done. In school science became one of the subjects I did well at as I read more science books to learn more about space stuff. I started reading sci-fi books and watching Star Trek and Blake's Seven. Eventually a sciency outlook lead me to start playing around with computers (mainly to work out how to play sci-fi computer games) and then to my computing career.

    I have no idea if things would have been the same if I hadn't have read the book. Probably I would have become interested in astronomy and science things eventually at some point, but that book was the point when it started. Unfortunately I can't remember anything else about the book, including its title and author!
     
    Devesh H Rao
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    Originally posted by Dave Lenton:

    Some books have more influence then others though.....When I was 6 years old



    On second thoughts don't you think the books which we read in the childhood are much more influential than the ones which we read now.

    Say for example a mature person dosen't quite accept things at face value, the person has to be convinced about views which are opposite to his [something which is very difficult to do, considering the threads which we see in MD itself] while a child is so very much ready to accept things, learn and unlearn anything, in a way much more receptive to new ideas and thoughts. A child is never protective about his knowledge the way some grown up's tend to become.

    So in a way the text books which we had in school could very well be the most influential books in our lives even without us knowing it.

    Just a thought..........
     
    Michael Ernest
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    One of the biggest problems I find in American education is that more of us are taught what to read rather than how to read. By whatever force, we tend to be biased as we grow older about the books that will give us pleasure, information, insight, according to the age-old premise of building on what we already understand.

    It's not too many people who learn to read as adults so that reading the same things with new eyes is as important as reading something that adds to what we already know. If we could maintain that same spirit of mystery, wonder, and discovery that we had as children, perhaps more of the books we read as adults would leave deep impressions.

    Still, though, the first impressions we get from reading as children do pattern us in some ways. Growing up, I knew kids who carried the old SF Chronicle sports section (green in those days) in their back pockets, in the fashion of neighborhood adults who kept the racing form. Other kids read comic books, others read sci fi, fantasy or other genre novels. A few nuts I knew pored over D&D or other RPG guides, and a bizarre few read the Z80 Assmebly Instruction Manual or some such stuff.

    I remember a lot of throwaway shtuff from those days. Larry Niven, Dick Francis, Orianna Fallaci, Ellen Goodman...if you really think hard, you might be amazed at how much stuff you've read that feels as if it left no discernible impression.

    It's not always about the content either. Sometimes it's just about sharing the written experience of sharing politics, ethics, social angst. Self-help literature in the 70's, for example: Jesus. For all the talk about sexual revolution, party drugs and doing it if it feels good, all the polyester, LCD watches and pet rocks out there were clear signs of a very confused populace.

    And then all the social morals and dead serious management win-at-any-cost lit of the 80's. The One-Minute Manager (followed soon by The 59-Second Employee) -- the book I loosely consider to uphold the sound bite as legitimate social intercourse; The Search for Excellence (the research was a fraud?! Oh, say it ain't so!!); The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Then all that shtick about the Literary Canon, the barbarians at the gate, morally-politically-socially correct literature, marginalized (white guilt) literature, gender literature....Paul Simon sang, "Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts," but I think if he stopped at "up" he'd have a given us a more accurate, if less poetic, maxim.

    It occurs to me now we've left pictorials out of the mix, so here's a few I think about all the time:

    Suburbia, Bill Owen
    The Family of Man, various artists
    Evidence: 1944-1994, Richard Avedon
    Photographs - Annie Leibovitz, 1970-1990, Annie Leibovitz
    [ October 31, 2005: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
     
    Ganpi Srinivasan
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    well as mentioned by others,

    * Fountainhead
    * Atlas Shrugged &
    * We, the living

    some more that caught my attention:

    * 2001: Space Odyssey
    * This is interesting - Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy. This was a prescribed book in my middle school in India (8th grade) and man..I was amazed at the language and the depth of characters. I still remember the character names (Michael Henchard, Susan, Elizabeth Jane etc.)
    * Mein Kamph - wanted to know what was going on inside Hitler's evil mind!!!
    [ October 31, 2005: Message edited by: Ganpi Srinivasan ]
     
    fred rosenberger
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    Another one i've read is "Flatland", by E. Abbott. while i still don't claim to fully understand 4D (or higher dimensional space), i can KIND OF understand it now...
     
    Balaji Akella
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    The miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat hanh
    Born to Win by Muriel James

    Swamy
     
    John Dunn
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    Penthouse and Playboy were pretty influential and just plain pretty too.
     
    Roger Nelson
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    The most influential book transistion period was:

    The last "Hardy boys" and the first "james Hadley chase"

    And somewhere in the mid twenties the transition from fiction to non-fiction
     
    Roger Johnson
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    anne frank's diary
    Three Days to See
    [ November 07, 2005: Message edited by: Roger Johnson ]
     
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