I am not Oprah Winfrey. However, I am an avid reader. I read lots and lots of books, and most smart people I know do also. I encourage everyone (martial artist or otherwise) to read with as much time as they can find. Not at the expense of training of course, but to fill in gaps on trains, buses, taxis, or other waiting periods. TURN OFF THE TV, and the iPod as well (if you are not at the gym). Here are my top ten (not in order of importance) from my bookshelf that I read again and again.
In case you think I know something you don't, it might have come from one of these.
1. A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
a great overview of many various scientific disciplines for non-scientists. Very easy read.
2. The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
begins to unravel the stranglehold that religion has engineered on modern man. I agree.
3. God is not Great - Christopher Hitchens
takes God Delusion to another level. Hard, but sound arguments for atheism. Think about it.
4. Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere - Adele Westbrook and Oscar Ratti
great overview of aikido (yes, I know this is aikikai...). Dynamic sphere is a vital mental image.
5. The World's Religions: Our Great Wisdom Traditions - Huston Smith
non-sectarian overview of core beliefs of all the World's main religions. A must-read.
6. Monk or Warrior - Fred Evrard
synthesis of Filipino Kali practicality and Chinese medical wisdom/philosophy. I believe this.
7. Time Travel and Other Mathematical Bewilderments - Martin Gardner
starts some really great cocktail party conversations
8. Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond
one of the books that really made me think about things. Bryson's book, Smith's book, and this one make a set
9. Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space - Robert Masters and Jean Houston
tried these exercises in college and opened some new doors; you will too.
10. Sources of Power - Gary Klein
a great study on how we make decisions - very applicable to life and martial arts
The above are all non-fiction. Special mention goes to Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.
Fight Club opened my eyes to a lot of practical philosophy and the reality of how much sadness our modern materialistic world can really contain. I choose not to go down that route, but instead to believe in personal development (read Monk or Warrior by Fred Evrard). Palahniuk has some interesting points, though.
There ya go. Now, get off your wallet and go CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Lemme know what you think about any of them. I'll even buy dinner.
Better yet, tell me I'm wrong and which other books should have made my top ten.
If you persuade me, I'll still buy dinner :-)