I can remember 7 times throughout my life where a book has changed me: The first was in second grade. Our Holt Reinhart and Winston reader The Way of the World for whatever reason I found to be incredibly compelling. Maybe it was because it was the first time in my life that I was actually reading stuff that wasn’t one line bullshit about Dick and Jane. In any case, more than 30 years later, I remember the orange 1970s book vividly. I even remember the “story” about Frederick Law Olmstead. Good stuff that book.
The second was a book that I read in eighth grade by Robert Lipsite, called <a href=”One Fat Summer (Ursula Nordstrom Book)“>One F A T Summer the book changed my life at the time, because, well, I was a fat kid. Great story, and I truly connected with it.
The third book was A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Just a good read, and a good book. I liked it, and I still do.
The fourth book changed my life completely, <a href=”The Secret History“>The Secret History by Donna Tartt became a bit of an obsession for me, and changed the way that I view the world. For some time after authoring The Secret History, Tartt reportedly avoided publication of her second book (though she did publish a number of short stories in that interim) because, she feared, her second book would never live up to the critical acclaim of the first. I love Donna and her books dearly, but the truth is, her second book just didn’t click or make the same splash that the first one did.
The fifth book was <a href=”No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs“>No Logo by Naomi Klein. Like me, Naomi was a brand-obsessed, child of the ’80s, and started her dissertation writing about the wonders of the brand. Her book quickly became a manifesto amongst anti-corporate, anti-global, anti-capitalist, anti-anti, well anti-almost everythign. It was rational, and refreshing, and changed my life, the course of my life, and what I would study for the next 10 years.
Like my experience with Donna Tartt, I put off reading Klein’s second book, for fear that it would be a disappointment after the first. Though I appreciated the second book, it wasn’t a life-changer. However, Klein’s most recent book, <a href=”The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism“>The Shock Doctrine is. It’s not only a life and career changer, but it is THE ONE BOOK that has the power to change the way the world works. Not only is it powerful, but I’m sure it WILL change the world. The book is HANDS DOWN the BEST BOOK I’VE EVER PICKED UP — fiction or non, and I simply could not put it down. I have a better education after reading through that book than I have after 20 years of following world events and years of being a student. It is a MUST READ for anyone interested in just about anything. Honestly, it is a must read for any American that is confounded by the current state of affairs, and for any Gen X’er that is desparately trying to make sense of how we’ve gone from days of forward-looking, hopeful, prosperity and a country run by a Rhodes scholar to dark days of war and fear run by stupid and greedy fundamentalist bastards, and to a country run by a D student from Texas.
Knowledge is power, folks, and this book is it. Run — yes run — don’t walk to your local bookshop and get reading, it’s the most informative book you’ll pick up in your life… and if I’m wrong, tell me so, and I WILL PERSONALLY refund your money for the book. You can find out more about Naomi Klein and her book at her website.