Books that Changed Your Life

Yesterday, Ryan Healy wrote a post on 12 books that changed his life and encouraged others to do the same. It was an interesting exercise to go back and try to figure out which books actually caused me to live my life differently. I figured if a book only gave me different thoughts, that wasn’t enough to qualify for this list. Here’s my list in the approximate order I read them in:

The Bible

I read it all the way through a couple of times plus just the New Testament many times growing up. I read it regularly and tried to apply it according to my understanding. I eventually cut back to reading Jesus’ teachings, Paul’s letters, Psalms and Song of Solomon. I don’t read it much anymore but I have to give credit where it’s due.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

This was one of the first and most influential books I read that told me I could choose my own destiny. Many successful people credit this book with catalyzing their drive toward accomplishment too.

Enter the Zone by Barry Sears

This was the first of many books I read on nutrition. Until that time, I was only vaguely aware that there was a connection between what you eat and quality of life and athletic performance. He’s written several books since then to make it easier to follow his plan. I actually follow a plan closer to Dr. Mercola’s recommendations at the present date.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This was one of the first books that set me in the direction of understanding the nature of government and my relationship to it.

Who is Your Covering? by Frank Viola

This is a bit of an obscure book about church authority. It was a right time, right place kind of read for me. The student was ready and the book appeared. I wasn’t ever able to get any of my friends to read it because it’s one of those “weird” house church books.

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

This book was one of the significant motivators for me to join the military (along with 9/11) . After reading it, I realized I wanted to go all out in pursuit of discovering the masculine heart.

Healing Our World by Mary Ruwart

This was the book that began my quest for understanding liberty, terrorism, government, war, etc. I’d already joined the National Guard when I found it. It appeals to the things almost every political group says they want and then provides libertarian answers. I didn’t know what a libertarian was before reading this and wouldn’t have been open to reading libertarian thought.

Costs of War ed by John Denison

This was the book that broke the camel’s back for my involvement with the military and government. I was in Airborne School preparing to deploy to Afghanistan when I finished it. I actively began the difficult process of getting out after I read this and understood that war irrevocably damages every party involved and leaves everyone worse off for it.

Conversations with God series by Neale Donald Walsch

These books were the ones that started bringing me out of my post military cynicism on life. They were truly an awakening and healing perspective on life for me.

The Internet Business Book(s) by James D. Brausch

I actually read these books as the blog posts they were copied from. Going back and re-reading them (while proofreading them) reminded me of my eventual intention to have my own online business rather than working as a self employed copywriter while giving me the tools to do it.

The Laughing Jesus by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

This was the most recent in a string of over a hundred books on Christianity and spirituality over the years. This one has a unique perspective on history inclusive of a Gnostic view including some spiritual practices for modern times. I finally feel contentment in my spiritual map of reality. It’s not that I’m done learning because beauty and experience is infinite. It’s that I feel like I’ve finally found a spiritual home only to realize I’ve always been home.

* * * * * * * *

While in college, I read that Tony Robbins started as a janitor and read 700 books in 7 years on his way up. That’s when I realized there was a lot more to learn about life than stopping after I had a degree like most folks. It’s taken me a little over 11 years to read that many books but it’s been worth it. Like Ryan, I’ve kept a spiral notebook listing all the books I’ve read for some reason.

Naturally, I’d like to include numerous other business, copywriting, NLP, history, biography, spirituality, or a few fiction titles.

4 Responses

  1. Pingback: Ryan M. Healy
  2. Great list, Louis!

    I, too, enjoyed Atlas Shrugged. It’s an amazing book.

    I also enjoyed Wild at Heart. It’s a good book for just about any man to read, especially if you’re married and feeling like there’s not enough excitement in your life. 🙂

  3. The book “Who is Your Covering?” by Frank Viola is no longer in print. His new book, “Reimagining Church” has replaced them both. “Reimagining Church” is the sequel to “Pagan Christianity” which was authored by George Barna and Frank. “Reimagining Church” is a detailed theology of organic church, over 300 pages. Endorsements by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, Tony Dale, Felicity Dale, Jon Zens, John White, Rad Zdero, and others. You can read a sample chapter at

    The book is also available on

  4. Excellent list. Sometimes we do get to know ourselves deeper or we make progress with the help of reading. I agree that there are lots of books that can influence us and can possibly change our lives. I think you are reading different kinds of books which also help the different angles of you- spiritually, emotionally, physically and so on. I want to try reading some of what you’ve listed.

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