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This is a question This book changed my life

The Goat writes, "Some books have made a huge impact on my life." It's true. It wasn't until the b3ta mods read the Flashman novels that we changed from mild-mannered computer operators into heavily-whiskered copulators, poltroons and all round bastards in a well-known cavalry regiment.

What books have changed the way you think, the way you live, or just gave you a rollicking good time?

Friendly hint: A bit of background rather than just a bunch of book titles would make your stories more readable

(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:11)
Pages: Latest, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, ... 1

This question is now closed.

On a positive note
...because so many replies seem to be along the lines of "I read blah and it woke me up to the fact that we are all mere pawns with our thoughts controlled by David Icke's Lizard Men".

I read "The Alchemist" by Paolo Coelho. What a lovely little gem of a fairy tale! You can read it in an afternoon, and it inspired me to get off my wobbly backside and attempt something I had been thinking about doing for ages but never had the motivation to start.

It worked out too.

It's the only book I ever read which made me rethink the way I approach life. And it's only about a hundred pages.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:41, Reply)
As a child
I was given a single dollar, which I put in a slot machine in Vegas. I won a million and now live in a villa with Playboy bunnies.

That buck changed my life.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:34, 2 replies)
I am very, very sorry...
At school I had a friend called Simon. Nice enough fella; strangely oversized feet, but that's no reason to dislike someone.

He did, however, have some other distinct characteristics, and these gave way to his (highly unimaginative) nickname: Bullthit Thimon.

You see, Simon had one of the most pronounced lisps I'd ever encountered. So pronounced was his lisp, in fact, that even teachers would occasionally snigger as he sprayed his way through sentences.

What's more, he wasn't the sharpest kid in class, but you could tell he really wanted to appear a lot more intelligent than he was. His answer? To make up his own 'facts'. Constantly.

Truth is, he loved to lie. He'd lie more than a man at A&E with a hoover pipe stuck up his rectum ("I was doing the hoovering naked and slipped, etc..."), and it reached the point where something had to be done.

So we clubbed together and bought a full range of Encyclopaedia Britannica, on the basis that by giving him access to a broader range of actual facts, he would be able to appear clever without having to make stuff up all the time.

Soon after we left school and went our separate ways: uni; work; prison; whatever people fancied really, everyone lost touch with Simon quite quickly, so it was nice that he turned up to the pre-Christmas reunion drinks we held in London last year.

There was a marked difference in him. His lisp was far less severe, although it would still crop up occasionally. But it was his lying that was most significantly different. He regaled us all night with fascinating nuggets of information and appeared much more like the intelligent person he'd always wanted to be. You could tell that he was still making much of it up, but it was always humorous, vastly more entertaining and far closer to the truth than it ever had been.

At the end of the night, all of us well refreshed, Simon sidled up to me, and in a conspirational hush said "I'm tho grateful to you guyth for buying those books for me at thcool. Really I am. Those books changed my lieth."

*runth for the hillth*
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:33, 5 replies)
The Bible.....
.....ah ha haa haaaaa! Just kiding.

That's a load of old bollocks really, isn't it?
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:20, Reply)
The Secret
is not a secret anymore.

(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:15, Reply)
1984 George Orwell
I randomly read this while still in school.

I loved the way he captured society and the way we are controlled, whether we like it or not. we cannot trust anyone.

when you think about it the interweb is the big brother. everything we do is monitored, watched.
If we think we are hiding behind a handle of "Hardcoreguy100" they know your real name. You've told them before.
your email address, [email protected] is useless. they know you....

looking at something you shouldnt? they leave cookies behind and take track of your IP address. you are marked, implanted with a chip you cant escape. even if you delete it, it can be found, you CANNOT HIDE

I know people who try escape the technology, but it wont work. we are all sucked in and doomed.
dont believe me? go to www.spock.com and enter your name. your real name!

George Orwell knew about it. and you cant escape it.

Big b3ta is watching you.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:14, 115 replies)
This one comes as a surprise to me too.... I never thought about the class struggle before....

John Seymour's Self-Sufficiency Book.

I'll try to make this as brief and to the point as I can….

I grew up on an ordinary housing estate in the South East of England. My dad was a policeman and my mum a kitchen assistant in a catering college. I've already mentioned in this QOTW that I was the first in my family to go into Higher Education and get a degree. It's safe to assume that I came from a lower middle class background - my parents had both been working class but during the Seventies had made the leap to the middle classes.

My father had always wanted to better himself from being a small boy growing up in poverty in rural Scotland and believed that education was the route out. He was always a reader - funnily enough our house when I was growing up held copies of The Communist Manifesto alongside Mein Kampf - so it's been strange to read about both books on the qotw.

This all led to me eventually securing a scholarship at the nearest private Catholic girls' school where I mixed with both local nouveau riche and foreign royalty alike. I was fortunate to be taught by a plethora of women in their fifties and sixties who had fought for feminism and were all unashamed Bluestockings. Our reading lists contained books that were considered to be the very best literature and the school libraries were kept well stocked with classics and 'radical' texts - I read Lady Chatterley's Lover at the age of 15 - borrowed from the Senior Library.

So it's safe to say that when I left school and went onto university I had completed my parents' desired journey firmly into the middle classes.

Within a few short years (and after a disastrous first marriage, gay man, blah, blah, blah…but nice soft furnishings!) I had established myself within my chosen career and, I'd like to think, was reasonably well thought of by all. Then I met a young man who came from a wealthy background - his family were one of the oldest in the county and the name was well known throughout farming circles in the county.

Anyway, to cut a long story very short, dear reader, I married him.

My family were extremely proud as I was marrying into Old Money, a family who had real Class, a family from the Upper Classes.

Except they didn't have any real Class.

The ridiculous thing is that I would like to believe that there is no longer a class system in modern Britain. I'd like to believe that we've got a meritocracy, but I'm also enough of a realist to know that money talks. Sadly it just says Goodbye to me (sorry, couldn't resist that one).

People are people regardless of their background - some are kind and try to be good, some are just plain nasty. Money, in my experience, seems to make little difference.

So, to return to the book…. I embraced the entire notion of Self-Sufficiency. I had chickens, goats, geese, grew all my own vegetables, picked hips and haws, made jam, baked cakes, bread and pies, I even made my own mayonnaise. I lived without central heating, double glazing, gas, mains drainage and on occasion electricity. I had the privilege of seeing the night sky without bad light pollution. A walk at dusk on a summer's evening would involve ducking the bats and listening to the owls. A drive at dusk meant watching out for deer, foxes, rabbits and even the odd wallaby (escaped and now living wild).
A truly idyllic lifestyle.

Except it wasn't.

Never underestimate the power of 'book learnin' ' and the genetic drive to better oneself.
Never forget that Old Money is at the top of the pile and believes that nothing can change that, not even rapidly approaching poverty. To paraphrase the famous sketch from The Frost Report, I will always look down on you because you are lower class.

For me that John Seymour book sums up a great deal more than just how to live with very little money…within the title it embodies my motto for life which I sadly forgot for ten years.

(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:10, 6 replies)
Porn changed my life
when I was a wee lad me granddad had a whole bunch of Cabaret brochures stashed away under his bed. They had pictures of the shows, and the women in the shows posing topless in their dresses. lots and lots of boobs. it was so intruiging because it was always made out to be so degrading, yet these women looked so happy. I used to dig them out whenever I could and have a tug. I never used to fantasise about screwing any of the women, It was just pleasurable to look at them, all happy and half naked, while I was flogging my member with newly acquired hair. That got me hooked on wanking and changed my life. I remember one in particular had a small peak of the panties between the woman's legs, nothing great but it was between her legs. the forbidden territory!!!

The next one was when I discovered a SWANK mag lying around. I had seen porn, but never up close. the girls were hot and spreading things i never knew could be spread. it was way, way better than the rubbish I had found before. the best was an issue from 1996 with Stephanie in it. a nubile blonde who was just perfect. *sigh* I think I may have been able to compete with a small dairy farm's output with that one mag alone.

nowadays I am a connoisseur of porn. I know the best mags and the best movies of all. and to make it even better, because I know all the tricks, 3 somes, random shags and other dirty tricks come my way regularly.

click "I like this" if you also enjoy a pron addiction
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 11:04, Reply)
Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdain
Not so much a life changer, more of an eye opener.

I've always been interested in cooking, and at 13 or 14, had been seriously considering going in that direction. While that dream drifted away, several shelves of cookery books, recipe scrap books, and a knack for leftovers-improvisation remain my path to culinary greatness.

Read this book and then throw away any notion you might have had about commercial cooking. There might be some creativity involved somewhere, but when the orders are flying, it's 50 degrees in the kitchen, and your mis en place is a mess, don't come crying to me. You're on a production line, the steaks are ready for table 5 and WHERE'S MY FUCKING FISH!

Gordon Fecking Ramsay - wouldn't stand a chance against Tony "Flacko" Bourdain.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:49, 3 replies)
What Would Jesus Do?
This is more of a guide than a story book. it presents a series of difficult real life situations and ponders on how Jesus would handle them, thus allowing the ardent Christian to follow in the footsteps of the Risen Lord. It has helped me greatly. Here are just a few of the situations:

- You have picked up a hitchhiker who turns out to be an escaped psychopath intent on killing you and raping your dead body now that you have run out of petrol on a deserted country road. SOLUTION - Turn the other cheek. Mankind is sinful and the psycho will repent his crime when he sees how placidly you are coshed into oblivion. Your death will be his Life Everlasting.

- You have been kidnapped by Peruvian freedom fighters who plan to cut off parts of your body in a ransom bid. SOLUTION - cut off your own body parts and present them to the kidnappers with all humility. They will be struck with the depth of their sinfulness and repent, letting you go and apologising unreservedly to the government after turning themselves in. Their eventual execution will be their path to Everlasting Life.

- Your car won't start and it's full of petrol so it can't be an empty tank. SOLUTION - open the bonnet and check for loose wires or dodgy spark plugs. Check the battery. If these things don't work, call the AA.

- You have fallen in with a bad crowd who have been feeding you milkshakes laced with opium. Now you're off your tits every day and simply lie in a pool of your own drool as your new friends loot your house and run up bills on your credit card. SOLUTION - At times of despair, call to your Father Almighty and he will will rain down Justice on the heads of the sinful. This might take some time, probably until Judgement Day, so you'll have to be patient.

- Your new puppy has shat all over your £200 a-square-yard Axminster carpet and then fallen asleep in the washing machine just before you put on a 60 degree wash. SOLUTION - Let it drown and good riddance. There's nothing in the Bible about animals having souls.

- You have failed all your GCSEs because you were sky high on solvents and did no revision. Now your dad says he's signed you up for the military academy and you're about to spend the next 14 weeks being screamed at by a guy with a crew cut. SOLUTION - Stigmata. The Second Coming is due any time soon and it might as well be now. Avoid that harsh military regime and go to the Catholics - they'll believe any old miracle and you'll be cosying up to the local cardinal before you can say "2000-year-old-fantasy".
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:46, Reply)
Are you Davros' Granddad?
Well, yes, I am. But I sporadically caught episodes of 'Are you Dave Gorman' on the Beeb, and when I was looking for something light and fluffy to read in between text books on British politics, the NHS, public law and public sector governance (for my degree, y'see), this seemed to fit the bill when the book came out in paperback.

For those not familiar, it is the true tale of one man's oddessy to find other people in the UK called Dave Gorman, following a drunken bet in the pub with his mate Danny. The search rapidly expanded to Europe, and then the USA, and on, as our hero travelled over 25,000 miles across the world to meet his namesakes, shake their hand and have his photo taken with them. As well as being an example of somebody taking life by the scruff of the neck and going off and doing something a bit mental, and fundamentally pointless just to win a bet, it's also a good example of what a person can do with a bit of determination.

Oh, and it's bloody funny too, co-written with Danny Wallace, who's interjections throughout the book counterbalance Dave's general excitement and joy.

And so it led me to think the inevitable - what if there are other Davros' Granddads out there? I know for a fact that there is at least one, cos I worked with him a few years back, on the same section, and doing exactly the same job. Oh the confusion that caused when our respective wives would ring up, and the other one picked up the call - "Can I speak to DG please"?


"No it isn't".

"Yes it is".


Anyway, I had a good, long think about this, and felt it could be an interesting little project. Unfortunately, after about 10 minutes I suddenly remembered my chronic fear of debt and decided it wasn't really the best idea I'd ever had.

*Ponders existance of other DGs*
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:42, 136 replies)
Yes Man
I've read a few of the Dave Gorman books and also the Danny Wallace one Join me and it was always a case of I'd like to do that but don't have the time/money/friends but when I read Yes Man it seemed like agreat idea to start just saying yes a bit more and it's worked out pretty well!
So defo a book to read as it's funny and heart warming!

Other books I've enjoyed are the discworld novels. David Eddings' Novels are also fantastic as his characters are so believable and fun to read about. I loved reading all the Belgariad and Sparhawk books but not read any of his newer stuff.

Also the X-Wing Novels and the Wraith Squadron novels were really enjoyable, another recommendation for fun books!
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:40, 2 replies)
Jorge Luis Borges
With 20 pages of answers, I'm not going to do a search - but I don't recall anyone mentioning Borges. His writing has a fair claim to be life-changing: though I'd had a great deal of intellectual stimulation from reading before I read any of his work, being introduced to it was epiphanic. His characters may be a little thin - but the things he did with the form of the story are astonishing.

A brief survey of his genius: he gave us in Don Isidro Parodi a detective whose crime-solving ability was hampered by the fact that he is in prison and that he has too much evidence; the thinly-autobiographical "Lottery in Babylon", a blistering satire on Peronist Argentina; "The Garden of Forking Paths", a detective story set (improbably enough) in Stoke-on-Trent (from where Borges' grandmother came), which is a match for the best - and "Death and the Compass" is even better; "Funes the Memorious", which advances the idea that knowledge depends on forgetfulness (a theme partially echoed in his essay "On Exactitude in Science")... and so on. The Book of Imaginary Beings is whimsical but no less of a cornucopeia, and his Universal History of Infamy presents the story of Tom Castro, one of the most audacious fraudsters whose scheme is so hopeless that it cannot help but to succeed.

To discover Borges was, for me, to become like Borges' "metaphysicians of Tlön[, who] are not looking for truth, or even an approximation of it [but...] a kind of amazement."
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:30, 13 replies)
The road
Read this on a flight and its astonishing (and I read a lot) Cormac mccarthy wrote it (author of No country for old men) One of those books that stays with you for ages after you've finished it...read it, its quite short, you'll see what i mean.Also well worth reading is A million little pieces by james frey, semi autobiographical concerning his drug addiction and withdrawal. (sounds worthy and boring, I can assure you it is neither) He got in some hot water when it turned out not all the details he relates were entirely true, so read it as fiction and enjoy!
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:21, 2 replies)
Sibylline Books
I had the good sense to buy these from the old crone at the extortionate price they were
initially offered for.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 9:21, Reply)
The Prophet, Johnathan Livingston Seagull,
and all that lot..... not.

At least not after I passed the age of 15 and stopped writing horrific poetry about my tortured soul and how nobody understood me.

Books that I'd recommend to absolutely anyone?

Earthly Powers as well as Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

In fact Clockwork Orange influenced me that much I got me a CW tattoo on my back.


But the story with the best ending ever written is A Prayer for Owen Meany by that John Irving bloke. The story itself is ace, but when it finishes you kind of sit back and go, "Aahhhh. Now I see." in a kind of sad, thicky sort of way (at least I did, anyway).

So many more, and no brain power to recall them.

Hey Ho.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 8:09, 9 replies)
I hate to admit it but a bunch of Ann Summers books changed my life. The titles of the books concerned have been obscured by hundreds of hours spent rubbing one off to the sweet, dirty stories that grace their pages. A rabid thirst for more professional and scandalous wordporn led me across the Internets to Literotica.com and I've never looked back... well, only to look for the tissues.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 7:37, Reply)
I, Lucifer
this book isn't go to go down in history as one of the best books ever written, it won't even be known as a great book of our time. but it should be. its one of my favourite novels because of the incredible way the author describes sensation from the point of view of someone who has never experienced it before and has been thrown in at the deep end. an incredible read just for that.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 4:09, 1 reply)
James Herbert........
I was never a great lover of books in school but managed to read a few before leaving.

At 17 I had the misfortune to get a whopping fine from her majesties courts for getting caught driving a motorbike without relevant legal documents,ended up doing 3 months clink for non payment.

During this time I was handed a book called Domain (part of the rats trilogy)by said author,which shit me a bit,so I eventually found and read all his books over the coming months and years.

The book that changed my life? FLUKE, not many books have brought a tear to my eye and a warm glow to my heart but when I put it down after I felt all the better for reading it.
Never been able to look at a dog in quite the same way since.
Anyone get the chance to read it, please do.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 2:58, 1 reply)
After I read 1984 it blew my mind,
I mean I was 17, and the concept of the totalitarian government monitoring me through the use of the thought police captivated my imagination. Suddenly, so many thoughts and beliefs made sense, I finally knew where the term Room 101 came from among other things. I was just awe struck.

Fast forward a month after I finished the book. I'm having a vivid nightmare. One of those where it's so real that you think you're awake. For some reason the thought police are after me. Nobody knows why, I don't know why, but they dame sure are after me. Only because my nightmare is set in the present and not the far off future of 1984 its the BBC* who are the thought police.

Suddenly I'm running round switching off all forms of communication in a bid to prevent the BBC from finding me. I turn off all TVs (because they use them to spy on me), radios are off. My phone wont stop ringing in the nightmare world. I try to turn it off but it wont work, the bastards have tracked me.

I wake up and the mobile on my bedside is ringing. Im still only half outta my nightmare at this stage and answer my phone and yell down it, "THE BBC ARE AFTER ME!, I HAVE TO RUN!!"

Found out next week that my mate Eddie rang me while he was wankered. I didn't remember answering my phone until he told me in school.

*I found out a few months after that George Orwell actually worked for the BBC at one point, freaky.
(, Wed 21 May 2008, 2:52, Reply)
Karma, innit
Two books that changed my life are:

Titch by Pat Hutchins - a brilliantly sparse and deeply philosophical depiction of childhood, focusing on a child who uses his love of horticulture to conquer those who bully him for being small.
All About The Bullerby Children by Astrid Lindgren - idyllic childhood in Sweden.

OK - I was about five when I first absorbed these classics in my local library. Mum noticed I liked books very early on and took me to the library every week (but somehow I always found my way home again, tiddy boom) - I read everything I could get my hands on in the children's section, most several times. When we moved house and I wasn't going to be able to get to that library any more I decided I loved it and its books so much I was going to keep the books I had on loan - the two listed above.

Roll on a couple of decades and a bit more and add another decade or so. I'm now the manager of a large public library and you wouldn't *believe* how cross I can get when people have the audacity to nick my lovely lovely books.

I did actually pay for the ones I'd pinched eventually - I couldn't bear to part with them so it was several weeks pocket money well spent. After all that, you'd think I still had them somewhere, wrapped up delicately in tissue paper so I could look at them now and again... It wuz library books wot made me love my library and even decide to become one of its custodians, I should treasure every page, every datestamp. Of course not, I was nine, I must have lost them within a matter of weeks. Or covered them in mud. Or given them away. Or something.

But I do still believe that if I ever lay eyes on either book again I'll be a gibbering wreck of nostalgia. Hence neither will ever be allowed in any library I manage. Regardless of how many inter-library loan requests for either I receive.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 22:13, Reply)
tim powers
the anubis gates

great story. sparked an insatiable interest in time travel.
shame the rest of his books are a bit rubbish
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 21:29, Reply)
Poo-Poo and the Dragons....
...by C.S. Forester. I have the original edition from 1942. Many ecstatic hours of my own childhood were transported up fuchsia flowers....
Poo-Poo Harold Heavyside Brown finds himself in front of his house one Saturday morning, wondering harder than ever what he should do.
"Just in front of him there was a fuchsia bush growing under the window......... and so he wandered up inside one of the fuchsia flowers....."
Poo-Poo befriends a rather dashing young dragon, whom his father decides is named Horatio. Fantastically obscure adventures ensue with the boy and his dragon, as they encounter delightful characters throughout the story.

I read it to Sweary Jr when he was 4 or 5, expecting it to be far too old-fashioned and fuddy-duddy for his tastes (Pokemon, Power Rangers etc.) But he was as enthralled as I'd been 30 years earlier, and requested the reading of it several more times.

How it changed my life?
To this day I cannot pass a fuchsia bush without a surreptitious peek up one of the flowers.....
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 21:24, 3 replies)
Only one book has ever kept me awake. I mean after I finished reading it. Plenty of books have kept me awake while reading them.

The one book which stopped me sleeping afterwards was Pet Sematary. Goodness knows why, since it's only a tawdry Stephen King scribbling, but keep me awake it did. The night I finished it I didn't sleep a wink.

Fair shit me up, it did.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 21:17, 2 replies)
*sentence involving witticism about lurking*
I've got a whole list of books and authors who are amazing.

Neil Gaiman- The Books of Magic (If you love Harry Potter read this(Be sure to note when this was first published and compare to the date the first HP book was published), Stardust.

Alan Moore- From Hell, Constantine, Watchmen.

Bill Bryson- A short history of nearly Everything.

But the important bit is books that changed my life and these are:

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Novels (All of them)- Simply put they're pretty much what made me me. I can't really phrase it any clearer. They changed the way I talked, thought, acted. Now when I read anything I actually look for the meanings that the words try to convey without saying those things. (Most telling in advertising.) It was a bit of a shock when I realised that I did this. Commander Vimes from the City Watch novels is just the best character I have read to date and Night Watch is the best of those.

Dr. Zakaria Erzinclioglu- Forensics: True Crime Scene Investigations- This book helped me understand why I'm at college doing this. Turns out I'm not just absolutely insane and consider Grissom my hero. (Though that's true too.)
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 20:57, 2 replies)
Let the dice roll
The book that changed my life the most? As well as my aspect on things?

That would be The Dice Man - by Luke Rhinehart (George Cockcroft).

The story is about a psychiatrist who found himself bored and unfulfilled with his life makes the choice of letting dice make all his decisions for him.

Whilst the book is a bit dark at times, covering sex, rape, murder, 'dice parties', the government and cults (well the sex and cults sound interesting), it really did rock my aspect on life, free will and predetermination.

Ask yourself why you make the decisions you make? What happens when you're indecisive? Do you ever have regrets?

Try living for a week where you have two choices for every action you look at, then roll for it... it makes life rather interesting. I ate some very strange breakfasts, went some very strange places, did some very abnormal things, luckily without resulting in arrest.

Oh and I love his psychological research initiative - 'Fuck without Fear for Fun and Profit'
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 20:45, 3 replies)
I don't know why I didn't mention this one before...
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. The plot line is that an evil carnival comes to town in a small midwest town in an ancient train, and the only people who see it for what it is are a pair of 13 year old boys, and the rather old father of one of the boys. (He's 52 when the story takes place.)

Imagine being a 13 year old boy with a vivid imagination who spends far too much time alone.

Imagine being said boy, and having a father who was 54 at the time of reading.

Imagine reading this book in October, during a weekend away, then riding home with said aging parents on a night of a full moon and seeing the moon rise, humongous and orange, over the city as you come home, just a couple of hours after finishing that book.

Imagine lying in bed and hearing off in the distance the sound of a train whistle.

Sleep? Who needs sleep?
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 19:24, 2 replies)
It looks like a lot of people on this thread have just listed a bunch of 'classic' books. Where are the stories behind how these books actually changed your lives? It's not a competition to see who's read the most 'intellectual' books.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 18:55, 5 replies)
God all you people are much hipper than me
I'll give this a shot.

The Age of Unreason by Charles Handy.

The man predicted the future, or rather pointed out trends that layman just hadn't noticed at the time. For example the takeover of mobile phones, the trend towards outsourcing things like cleaning, the trend of earnings becoming more "top and bottom" rather than "top, middle bottom", the idea of having a career rather than just a job, the rise of people changing careers in their late 40s (and why this is a good thing for companies who aren't short sighted), school departments separating out, the trend of a decreased amount of middle managers in various companies, and so on. He also pointed out the paradox of encouraging as much work as possible to be accounted for and paid for (which we're now badgering the 3rd world to do), and so on. (I also liked the idea of marriage being a renewable contract to take into account people living much longer)

Two particular points always stuck in my head.

1. The chimney probably changing more in society than the big changes perceived by us (and are taught at school).
Think about it... no chimney - people huddled together. Chimneys = people can sit in various rooms, do their own thing, and central heating even more so. It's the inventions that we don't even think about are probably the most life changing ones, the things that affect our day to day lives (living, working, children).

2. The anecdote about an American visiting a campus in Europe, and people asking him for advice about how to stop people walking on the grass.
"Why do people walk on the grass?"
"It's the quickest way across the court"
"Put a path there then"

Those who have read the book can probably recall the book better than I can... I read it once, at 14 and it pretty much changed my life.
I no longer saw society as stupid... merely a group changing in time, with relative values and changing descriptions of "good" and "success". I essentially stopped being a stroppy teenager and became the easy going odd creature I am today.

I recall being asked to write an essay about school in detention and I was ranting about how you can expect kids to be productive if you put the lessons in 35 minute blocks, expect them to work in groups of 30 that change most lessons, and streaming by ability in one area only: in business when you solve a problem, you have a group of people with different skills and mindsets, why not at school?

Didn't stop my arrogance though, heh.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 18:40, 2 replies)
Give the Anarchist a Cigarette by Mick Farren
is effing GRATE.

If you like books about the 60s/70s young Michael is your man.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 17:36, 1 reply)

This question is now closed.

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