One of the greatest benefits of reading is the ability that books have to expand your mind. I enjoy a good story, but the books that I love the most are the ones that teach me something new, or help me to view the world from a perspective different than my own. The best books do not “instruct”, but “allow” the reader to learn something that was previously unknown to them. Some of the most memorable works that I have read come from authors who have a drastically different background than myself. You will be surprised by how much you can learn when you listen to (or read) voices that come from another part of the world, or from another time period.The more you read about the world around you, the more you will realize that each person sees it a little differently. There is a miscalculation that is common, particularly in the Western world, which leads many to believe that they hold some advantage over other inhabitants of the Earth. One of the most effective ways to avoid or correct this misconception is by reading. When you bring home a book that contains knowledge outside of your normal sphere, you have an opportunity to expand that sphere.
Here are five outstanding books that represent a different way of thinking or illustrate concepts that are outside of what I considered “ordinary”. These books have drastically different stories and origins, but they each have something in common. They represent ideas, places, people, and concepts that expanded my way of thinking in a way that I did not expect. These are five books that “blew my western mind”:
1 – Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Click this link to read the NY times Book review from 1969
2 – The Association of Small Bombs, Karan Mahajan
Read the summary on Amazon.com
3 – The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land In Between- Hisham Matar
Read about the Pulitzer Prize winning story by Hisham Matar
4 – The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley
This website will give you the Three minute synopsis, then you will want to read the complete autobiography.
5 – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Persig
Over 100 publishers passed on this book before it was published in the 70’s, going on to sell more than 5 million copies. Read a review of the book here: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Which books have opened up your mind or changed the way you look at the world? Please share…