What is my world but a subjective reality made up of my ideas, preconceptions and experiences. My world is largely shaped by my beliefs and understandings too and will continue to change as these are modified and developed. Here are a few books that have shaped my world. I go back to these books again and again. According to Buddhism, we learn about the world in two ways – 1) by empirical methods (trial and error) 2) the counsel of the wise. These wise authors have taught me about the world. They are not in order of importance.
There are other books that I would consider as runners up which didn’t make it onto this list, but I would still consider as making more of a minor contribution. But nevertheless need acknowledgement. These I will list on another page.
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
One of the books that has a huge impact upon me. I have always believed in the inequality of life, eliteism, heirarchy and that the spreading of the wealth of the world or other ideas of homogeneity are futile due to the nature of the universe. Life is unbalanced and unequal. There are haves and have nots. Try as we like to try and even the score, the laws of nature are immutable. Why can’t we just realise the truth rather than try and bend the rules to fit our ideas.
The theories presented in this book are very interesting, but what is more interesting are their applications. Richard Koch quickly moves from theorising to actual usage so that you can see how to make these principles part of your life. He cites examples from his own life and urges you to try things out. Take the rules and then apply them to every aspect of your life and watch how things change – for the better.
This is one of the reasons how I began to ride fixed gear. On my bicycle I use 80% of the gears only 20% of the time and 20% of the gears 80% of the time. That is the first premise according to the rule. So I took a look at my gears and noticed the amount of wear on the cogs. Out of a total of 18 gears only 3 showed signs of heavy use and more than half showed signs of little or no use. Could I then dispense with the other gears if they were not being used? What about having only one gear? And so the idea was born in my mind. So my bike has only one gear now and my pleasure of cycling has never seen better days.
More controversial usage could be such as this. 20% of your friends are truly loyal friends whereas the other 80% are really a waste of time. You don’t even want to consider the concept. But the universe in topsy turvy. So ask yourself if the time that you spend on some friends is even worth the effort and would be better spent on the better friends.
I think that everyone would benefit from reading this book. You can get the gist just from reading the back cover, but it is worth reading to get a real feel and understanding of the concept. I’m getting inspired just thinking about it and I think I’ll go back and read it again.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Otherwise known as the "The Seven Rabbits of Highly Dislecsic People". I go back to this book again and again. It has so many gems that have shaped my life. Such as "the best way to learn is to teach". That’s partly why I’m writing all these technical articles even though I don’t know much about the internet and programming. Because in order to write them, I need to understand them. And only when I understand can I pass it on.
For a British readership it may come across as a little informal and American motivational evangelism. But if you get past the style of writing, the content is extremely worthwhile.
Simplicity by Edward de Bono
You can simply read the 10 rules of simplicity on page 279 and that would be it. And the first rule really sums it up rather well
Rule 1: To get simplicity you have to put a very high value on simplicity
Life seems to get more and more complex especially as technology becomes a greater part of our world. And what about filling in forms? Why can’t these things be made simpler? Don’t you wish your life were simpler? But is simpler easier or better?
Edward de Bono explores all these issues in depth and asks you to examine them in your own life. And suggests many creative techniques to achieve that simplicity in your life.
The book is a very easy read as it could be thought of as only half a book. The left hand page has a summary or pullquote in large print and the facing right hand page has the main text. Just reading the left hand page will give you the gist and then you will feel ready to the read the full text, or not as the case may be. Or you could just read the left hand pages.
It is only when you have a headache, that NOT having a headache is such a very high value
The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green
The Inner Game of Music
This book was recommended by one of the tutors at Basstech in Acton while I was doing one of their courses. It added a whole psychological and spiritual dimension to music. Which I guess is has. And one of the aims of music is to stop us thinking about things and to feel them. As Bruce Lee says to his young disciple at the beginning of "Enter the Dragon". It also helped put the fun back into music rather than getting too bogged down in harmonic theory and modes.