Books I Recommend (that Transformed My Life)
When I was a child I was an avid reader. I read 100’s of books. Looking back now I still vividly remember the Little House books, Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, and The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle. These adventures played a big part in shaping my life and probably in part turned me into the adventurer and explorer that I am today. There is little doubt in my mind that reading is one of the most beneficial ways that I spent my time as a child.
I wish I could say that I stayed an avid reader for my whole life but in college I think partying took over to a great extent and in recent years the computer has largely replaced books for me. In 2011 I began a transformation from From Drunk Dude to Dude Making a Difference and that was fueled more by documentaries than anything else. I’ve shared the influential documentaries at 23 films that changed my life. Although documentaries were my greatest source of education and inspiration in my transformation there were also many books that had a profound influence on me. I can’t remember all of them but the following is a list of books that have made their mark in my mind and that I encourage you to read as well. Of course there are many other books out there that could have had a huge impact on me had they come into my hands but these are the books that I have read and that I recommend.
I first heard about Mark Boyle through my Facebook news feed as I saw a viral article about his year of living without money. His first book, The Moneyless Man, was one of my greatest inspirations to reduce my dependency on money. His second book, The Moneyless Manifesto, taught me how to live without money. And his third book, Drinking Molotov Cocktails with Gandhi, forced me to rethink everything, even after half a decade of rethinking everything. I’ve done a writeup on his books here.
The Biography of Mahatma Gandhi
I was sleeping on the streets of downtown San Diego spending time with people with no home and checked out a copy from the public library. I don’t recall which biography it was exactly that I read but every one has great value to it. He was a great inspiration to me before reading his biography but the inspiration grew after this read. See this page for some of my favorite quotes by him.
Yvon Chouinard is the founder of Patagonia and 1% for the Planet and a huge inspiration to me. Through his business, nonprofit, and personal life he truly is leading the way into a more sustainable world. These books really inspired and informed me on how to carry out my business in an ethical manner. In his mind the answer to living in a healthy world is simple; know the affects of your actions and do what is right. It comes down to living simply, reducing consumption, buying quality products that last, and giving back to what gives to us.
This book tought me the basics of nutrition and really helped to get me away from junk food and into eating healthy, whole foods. It was so inspirational for me to learn what happens when I put food into my body and how much I could improve my life through what I ate.
Here I am in Puerto Rico in 2012 with this book and some of the food it inspired me to eat.
In Defense of Food just happens to be the Michael Pollan book that I got my hands on but even having not read any of his other books I would recommend every one of them. He is a brilliant man who explains food so simply yet so deeply. I recommend his books to anyone who wants to know whats going on with the food they are eating.
Through my years of dumpster diving activism Tristram Stuart has become a great friend of mine. It wasn’t until after we became friends that I finally read this book. I was already widely versed on the topic of food waste this book still managed to teach me so much. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to make an impact in the world of food waste.
Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen by Anna Blythe Lappé and Bryant Terry
Along with Healthful Foods, and documentaries like Food, Inc. this book was part of my total lifestyle change when it comes to food.
I didn’t feel good after reading this book. In fact I was quite depressed. But it was an utterly important read in learning about corruption in government, politics, and corporations.
Do you eat enough greens? This book is pretty convincing that it may be the single most important part of a healthy diet. After reading this you’re probably going to want a green smoothie!
Both of these were extremely helpful for me in learning how to be successful with affecting postitive change through my lifes work.
A year of eating only local, mostly only food that Barbara and her family grew themselves. This is an experiment that I plan to embark on myself, only to a bit of a greater extreme than them. This book really made me want to dive into growing my own heirloom food and to connect with the soil.
This is the little shelf of books that I kept while I was living at The Teeny Greeny.
Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha
Rethink the “standard narrative” of human sexual evolution.
“Nearly every time you see him, he’s laughing, or at least smiling. And he makes everyone else around him feel like smiling. He’s the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet, a Nobel Prize winner, and an increasingly popular speaker and statesman. What’s more, he’ll tell you that happiness is the purpose of life, and that “the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” How to get there has always been the question. He’s tried to answer it before, but he’s never had the help of a psychiatrist to get the message across in a context we can easily understand. Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement. Together with Dr. Cutler, he explores many facets of everyday life, including relationships, loss, and the pursuit of wealth, to illustrate how to ride through life’s obstacles on a deep and abiding source of inner peace.”
For more inspiration and education check out these lists of resources that have had a positive influence on me: