The best books that transform how we think and make us grow

The Books I Picked & Why

Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

By Richard Bach

Book cover of Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Why this book?

I wasn’t a reader in the early part of my life. When I started college, I had to take a remedial reading course. Illusions was one of the books we had to read, and it felt like a wall in my brain exploded, opening parts of my brain I’d never used. After that, I wanted more books that could make me feel that way. Because of that, Illusions is an important book to me. I can point directly towards it as the book that started me on a lifelong journey of growth that eventually made me the author of a book often compared to Illusions.


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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

By Robert M. Pirsig

Book cover of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Why this book?

I’ll be honest, this book was a hard read for me the first time through. Parts seemed to drag on and on, but the book never left my head. The ideas in it kept calling me back. Years later I decided to read it again and was shocked at how easily it read and how much I missed the first time. I am feeling a calling to read it again. To me, that is what a great book should do. If a reader closed a book cover and never thinks about that book again, the author failed. A great book becomes part of who you are, a building block in your brain.


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Voyage from Yesteryear

By James P. Hogan

Book cover of Voyage from Yesteryear

Why this book?

One of my philosophy professors said science fiction writers were the new philosophers. I couldn’t agree more. Science fiction authors can create worlds to test hypotheses about social structures. Hogan creates a world seeded with humans with the goal of finding a planet they can move to before the impending self-inflicted destruction of Earth. Without the connection to Earth, the society that forms is a highly productive world without an exchangeable currency. The robots that brought the ship to the planet can build everything they need. After generations, Earthlings make their way to the planet, bringing the ideas and philosophies that destroyed Earth. The locals welcome them and are amused at the absurd ideas. This book does a wonderful job exploring concepts of wealth, social structure, and so much more. 


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Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity

By Bruce Bawer

Book cover of Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity

Why this book?

Bawer delves into the history of Christian fundamentalism in this well-researched book. It explores the “church of law” vs “church of love.” This should be required reading in churches and maybe we would stop dividing ourselves over false doctrines. Too many religions are working to divide humanity and Stealing Jesus is an important book for resolving that. 


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Sadhana, the Realization of Life

By Rabindranath Tagore

Book cover of Sadhana, the Realization of Life

Why this book?

I stumbled onto the audiobook for this when I was commuting an hour and forty-five minutes one way. It was so powerful and deep that I ended up listening to it a second time. Tagore’s spiritual wisdom spans all the major religions. He talks about Christianity as passionately and profoundly as he talks about Buddhism or Hinduism and his wisdom resonates deeply at the core of who you are. 


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