Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Hundred-Sixty Books That Have Changed My Life

(Every book I've read has changed my life in some way.)
Updated 29 December 2016
Orhan Pamuk observed, "I read a book one day and my whole life was changed."(1)   Pat Williams explains further, "We are changed by what we read. Close that book, and you are not the same person anymore. Because of what you just read, your worldview--your understanding, your compassion for others, your ability to engage intelligently with others--has expanded a little. Books help us grow...."(2)

1. The Book of Mormon, stimulated a question and answered a spiritual quest which, at age 17, changed the course of my life more than any other single book.

2. Nephi Anderson, Added Upon, a love story that taught me the skeleton of the plan of salvation.

3. Manachem Begin, The Revolt, one man's revolt and resistance is another man's terrorism.

4. Daniel Boorstin, The Americans: The National Experience, showed me even the history of ice harvesting in New England can be interesting if the story is told right.

5. Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, at a fairly young age, my first real experience with the joy of having my imagination stimulated through reading.

6. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, one of the 10 best books I've read. Edersheim was a profound thinker, sensitive believer, and passionate writer.

7. Eugen Kogon, Theory and Practice of Hell, brought me face-to-face with the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

8. Paul de Kruif, Microbe Hunters, a great early encounter with the fascinating world of scientific discovery.

9. George Buttrick, The Parables of Jesus, the wisdom and eloquence of a thinking man, which began for me a life-long love affair with the parables.

10. Edward Gibbon, The Autobiography of Edward Gibbon, an early foray into the life of the mind, feeding my own interest in the same.

11. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, began my acquaintance with one of the best Christian thinkers. He has been a life-long favorite. The Screwtape Letters, showed me the psychology of temptation and the motivations of evil–with humor.

12. Helen Keller, Teacher, the magnificent struggle of a blind girl guided by a gifted teacher.

13. Jack London, The Call of the Wild, also piqued my imagination; for many years I thought I wanted to live in the Alaskan wilds. I eventually grew out of it.

14. Sterling McMurrin, The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion, my first exposure to two important things–Mormon philosophy and B. H. Roberts.

15. Truman Madsen, Eternal Man, a brief introduction to several classic philosophical issues from a Mormon perspective. Introduced me to a man who later became a respected friend.

16. Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, the profound lessons and philosophy of life growing out of surviving the suffering of three grim years in Auschwitz and other prisons.

17. Irving Stone, Agony and Ecstasy, of being Michelangelo--the commitment and pain required to be the world's greatest artist.

18. Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, awakened an awareness of the evils of slavery and racism and the thrill of seeing one rise above his circumstances and limitations through optimism, perseverance and education.

19. B. H. Roberts, The Gospel and Man's Relationship to Deity, a grand systematic treatment of Mormonism. His style captivated me for life. He is one of Mormonism's greatest thinkers and most articulate (and passionate) writers.

20. Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea, continued to sensitize me to women's issues and introduced a gifted female author which encouraged me to look for more.

21. Leonard Mosley, Lindbergh.  Tragedy stalked a truly American hero.  I wept when he was buried in Hawaii, almost an outcast.

22. Samuel Smiles, Happy Homes and the Hearts that Make Them, recommended by Vaughn J. Featherstone as one of his favorites. I wanted it for years; finally a kind student tracked it down for me.  It is in the public domain and now much easier to obtain through the Internet.

23. Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, the greatest reading experience of my life, outside of holy writ. A 1000 page description of a Christian saint. Includes the greatest thing I've ever read about the mental struggle a man goes through to decide to do the right thing when his freedom and even life hang in the balance.

24. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, where I discovered the Prophet as a simple yet profound thinker, teacher, and scriptural interpreter. The catalyst for one of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life. The most important reading I've done outside of the scriptures. 
25. Gilbert Highet, The Immortal Profession, gave a deep sense of the importance of my profession and initiated me into the world of the psychology and philosophy of an educator.

26. William Shakespeare, Complete Plays and Poems, simply the greatest writer in the English language, if not any language. This is close to, if not on top of my personal top ten (not counting scripture). Profundity expressed in elegance and eloquence that appears deceptively simple. It has to be studied before it can be read for enjoyment. Pay the price and you will enjoy the life-long benefits.

27. James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, there is not a wasted word in this magnificent portrayal of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. It came at a time when I was awakening to the idea that my mind really worked and that using it is one of the great pleasures in life. The single greatest contributor to my vocabulary of which I am aware.

28. Benjamin Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, a rags to riches story which is not about money, but the mind.  You gotta love his mother!

29. Malcom Gladwell, Outliers: The Story of Success, challenges popularly held views about the factors of success. The chapter on the 10,000 hour rule is worth the price of the book.

30. Ben Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, probably my first, and perhaps most significant, self-help book.

31. William J. Lerderer, The Ugly American, a shock to my high school naivete.

32. Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place, the tale of a very wise woman who endured the horrors of the concentration camp along with her sister and father, for hiding Jews from the Nazis. An amazing portrayal of resilience, faith, and forgiveness.

33. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a portrait (pun intended) of the degrading effects of unbridled hedonism.

34. Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book, among other things, helped me see reading as a great dialogue between author and reader.

35. Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the one and only time I finished a 700 page book and said aloud, "No, you can't quit now!"

36. Robert M. Prisig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an intriguing mixture of genius and insanity.

37. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, an early exposure to high-level aphorisms and poetry.

38. John Holt, Never Too Late, My Musical Life Story, a man plans for his old age and diminished capacities.

39. Chaim Potock, The Chosen, a peek into the world of the development of a Jewish intellectual.

40. Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Manhood of the Master, perhaps sermon or lecture notes, but some wonderful insights into the character of Jesus, always of interest to me.

41. Sydney J. Harris, Pieces of Eight, a collection of brief essays by one of America's most thoughtful and articulate columnists at the time.

42. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, required reading for a historiography class, it was so unintelligible and uninteresting at the time that I've never had an interest in Marx's philosophy.

43. Feodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, a dark soul commits murder, but through the love of a woman seeks redemption.

44. Kenneth Bailey, Poet and Peasant, A Cultural and Literary Study of the Parables in Luke, significant insights into the stories of Jesus garnered from Arab culture while he lived in the Middle East.

45. Samuel Heilman, The Gate Behind the Wall: A Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, an examination of a Jewish boy's yeshiva and of love for Jewish holy books.

46. David McCullough, John Adams, an inspirational account of one of the most important founding fathers.

47. Philip Hallie, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, the captivating story of a French village, led by a local priest, who sequestered Jews from the Nazis.

48. Jay Mathews, Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, a man who succeeded in inner-city LA among poor and disadvantaged Latinos.

49. Denish De Souza, Illiberal Education, an India-born articulate conservative exposes the hypocrisy of American liberal educational philosophy and policy, and launched a career as a conservative social commentator.

50. Linda Atkinson, In Kindling Flame, The Story of Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944, a heart-stopping story of a young Jewish girl who migrated to Israel before the war, trained as a paratrooper, returned to her homeland to aid in the resistance, was captured and finally executed just hours before her town was liberated.

51. Joe Paterno, Paterno: By the Book, a man who is not only a legendary football coach, but one who was chairman of the fund raising committee and donated the first $100,000 to the new Penn State Library. He wanted a library the football team could be proud of, or rather, of which the football team could be proud!

52. Michael Medved, Hollywood vs. America, an expose of the mixed up motives and values of tinsel town.

53. Sterling W. Sill, Leadership, my first exposure to this man's voluminous writings. Some accuse him of being the apostle of the gospel of success, but having read most of his works, I see him quite differently.

54. Michael Montaigne, Essays, introduced me to a new genre of literature and encouraged my search for additional writers with wisdom.

55. Charles Edward Jefferson, The Character of Jesus, provoked a lot of marking, marginal notes, and outlining. I love his style and was surprised when it turned off one of my colleagues. Different strokes....

56. James Newton, Uncommon Friends, a serendipitous find; the kind you come across while browsing in a bookstore rather than read about in the New York Times book review section. This man was friends with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh.

57. John H. Groberg, The Fire of Faith, the amazing faith-filled experiences of a Mormon missionary in the South Seas in the 1950s.

58. Michael Shaara, Killer Angels, a novel about Gettysburg that takes you down into the smoke, noise, confusion and fear of the battlefield. A Pulitzer Prize winner.

59. Vance Havner, The Best of Vance Havner, the homespun wisdom of a most thoughtful Baptist preacher. Few people have said some things as well as Havner.

60. James Bradley, Flags of Our Fathers, the gut-wrenching, yard-for-yard battle of Iwo.

61. B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor, the life of one Englishman who became a defender of the faith, by another Englishman who became a defender of the faith. Probably my first great experience with a biography–which turned into a life-long love.

62. Bel Kauffman, Up the Down Staircase, great humor about a high school, read when I was in high school.

63. Thomas Morris, The Art of Achievement, a potent distillation of thought about success in the business of life.

64. George Orwell, 1984, even in high school I viewed this as scare propaganda, but I've lived to see "big brother" invading our privacy more and more. Five years after the due date, Communism collapsed. So, if we become totalitarian now we will likely do it on our own.

65. John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage, short political biographies that won the prize for him and inspired me.

66. Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, the first time I considered the internal and external evidences for the Book of Mormon from one of the most original and creative thinkers in Mormonism.

67. John Wooden & Steve Jamison, Wooden on Leadership, Principle with a capital "P" guided his life and his coaching. And the man never stopped trying to figure out how to do it better; refining his principles and teaching them more clearly.

68. H. W. Brands, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, grew my appreciation for one of the controversial Presidents, and wait till you read the story of Sam Houston rushing his young son to Jackson’s bedside to meet him before the old warrior died.

69. Jack London, The Sea-Wolf, my first post-mission-president fictional reading. A classy love story, not set in the cold north as with much of London's writing, but on the high seas.

70. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, simply stated, one of the 10 best books I've read. When she finished writing it she was disappointed, because she said, "For 10 years, I got up and spent every morning with Abraham Lincoln." One could do worse. See a longer statement in my recommended reading on leadership.

71. Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell, Shackleton's Way, one of the most captivating adventure stories of all time, but the character and leadership of the man was unique in his time and ours. It inspired and edified me greatly.

72. Dallin H. Oaks, Life’s Lessons Learned,  surprised by the simple, practical, and unusual lessons shared by an intellect once considered a candidate for the Supreme Court.

73. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, a poignant and powerful look at the spirit of Christmas.

74. Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln's Sword, was his pen! Wanna appreciate the power of the well crafted word both written and spoken and a man who could do it better than most? Try this winner.

75. Derek Bok, Our Underachieving Colleges, opened my eyes to the complexity of issues in higher education which in my naivete I oversimplified.

76. Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons, a play about character and dying for one's principles.

77. John Hershey, Hiroshima, like an atom bomb, small but powerful!

78. John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, some would say this is dry reading, but it has been a huge stone in the foundation of my gospel understanding, especially how the kingdom is governed.

79. Robert Augros and George Stancui, The New Biology: Discovering the Wisdom in Nature, not written as an intentional rebuttal to evolution, but shows another side of the story--cooperation in nature. And, where are the missing-links between a dolphin and a whale, which apparently just shows up without antecedents in evolutionary history?

80. Neville Shute, On The Beach, an imaginative story of the last survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

81. Neal A. Maxwell, "For The Power Is In Them", my first experience with Elder Maxwell. What a discovery for my spiritual and intellectual life.

82. John Wooden, They Call Me Coach, my first exposure to Wooden. It was so interesting to me, that my reading speed increased as I read it. As you can tell from the number of times he appears in this list, he has become one of my heroes.

83. Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, believe-it-or-not, my mission president had us read this. At the time I was put off by Hill's style, but it was my first introduction to the genre of modern success and self-help literature and to Hill himself. I read more of Hill on my second mission, but didn't make it required reading for the missionaries.

84. Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, O Jerusalem, the amazing story of the fight for Jerusalem during the 1948 Jewish war for Independence, with vignettes from the Jewish, Arab and British points of view.

85. Betty Edwards, The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, recommended by one of my best friends (who happens to be a very successful artist); anyone can learn to draw if they will study, learn and practice. Becoming an artist is another thing altogether!

86. John Milton, Paradise Lost, a very difficult read from one of the world's most brilliant minds. However, I discovered that with the right kinds of aids in the book, even I could learn from and enjoy most literature. This one also requires study before reading for enjoyment.

87. Parley P. Pratt, Key To The Science of Theology, read soon after my first mission, Pratt's style and subject interested me and propelled me forward in the study of Mormon theology.

88. George Adam Smith, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, awakened in me a love for the Holy Land and for historical geography that has never waned.

89. Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball, Jr., Spencer W. Kimball, Twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an honest and eminently engaging story of a small man who was one of the spiritual giants of Mormonism.

90. Robert Spencer, ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, 589 pages of essays regarding Islamic philosophy and practice towards non-Muslims.

91. John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, a Victorian type novel of a love affair between a gentleman seafarer and a former governess.  I’m still struggling with the surprise endings.

92. Abraham H. Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being, one of the more worthwhile books I was required to read in the pursuit of a BS in psychology. However, I wasn't intellectually mature enough then to appreciate it.

93. Wesley P. Walters, New Light on Mormon Origins from Palmyra (N.Y.) Revival, a small anti-Mormon pamphlet which I read in 1967. It was my first encounter with above-average anti-Mormon literature (if there is such a thing), that set me off into the world of defending Mormonism.

94. Le Grand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, read while at Idaho State College just before my mission. I learned from one of the great missionaries in the Church a bit about teaching the gospel.

95. Stephen L. Carter, The Culture of Disbelief, what to do about the threat to trivialize faith and religion in American culture.

96. Albert Schweitzer, Out of My Life and Thought, I don't know when or what stimulated my interest in this man, probably the idealism of youth, but it seems like I have always wanted to know about him.

97. Nathanial Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, my first (high school) encounter with Puritanism.

98. Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living, Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, warm and wise counsel about life.

99. Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, the story of one of the great men of Mormonism by one of its better authors. During the first year of my teaching career it hooked me on Mormon biography.

100. Mikhail Gorbachev, Perestroika, read at the time Communism was on its way out.  This book convinced me that Gorbachev's openness was for real, though many around me thought he was the typical deceitful Russian.

101. Jim Lovel and Jeffrey Kluger, Lost Moon, The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, I even missed seminary to watch the space launches I was so fascinated by the subject. Somehow, I missed this amazing adventure story until I read this book, which is much better than the movie, as usual.

102. John C. Maxwell, The 360 Degree Leader, Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization, not my first introduction to Maxwell who is today's apostle of leadership, management, and success, but it is representative of his work, which I found personally beneficial as well as helpful as a Mission President.

103. Plato, Collected Dialogues, this required diligent and hard work for 1,600 pages, but I did it! But, with not as much as I should have to show for it. Clifton Fadiman says Plato read at 20 is one thing, at forty another, and yet another at 60. I'm over sixty, so maybe it is time to try it again.

104. Danel W. Bachman, "A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage before the Death of Joseph Smith," I wrote it as a master's thesis at Purdue University in 1975. How can that not change your life?

105. Alan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, a hard-hitting critique of the failures of higher education in America.

106. William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, mammoth, but my endurance was bolstered by a life-long interest in learning about WW II.

107. Hyrum Andrus, Joseph Smith the Man and the Seer, one of the first and more impactful of many biographies of Joseph Smith I have read over a lifetime.

108. James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, this book on the power of thought and thought control is a major life-changer for many people who read it, including me.

109. Edward F. Murphy, Heroes of World War II, Stories of Medal of Honor Winners in the War. Moved my interest in courage, valor, and hero worship a giant step forward.

110. Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics, a collection of editorials and opinions.  Those  that effected me the greatest related to war and Islam.

111. The Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price), the most important, influential, and life-changing books I have ever studied. I love them and they have an on-going impact on my life on a daily basis.

112. Robert Trumbull, The Raft.  A WW II bomber crew downed in the Pacific with nothing, suffered terribly but survived thirty-four days.

113. James Bentley, Secrets of Mount Sinai, Konstantin Tischendorf's discovery and purloining of the famous Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai. Became all the more meaningful after two opportunities to visit that library!

114. George Edward Clark, Why I Believe: Fifty-four Evidences of the Divine Calling of Joseph Smith.  A unique approach to the subject, one which has caused me to generate my own such list over five decades. 
115. Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring, is chucked full of life-lessons about fatherhood, church leadership, and diligence in getting close to and following the Spirit--all things I wish I would have encountered when I was twenty.

116. Bill Sands, My Shadow Ran Fast, an almost incredible account of a San Quentin convict who reformed and made a success of his life.  Begins with his mother beating him with a rose bush cane!

117. Newt Gingrich, with Ross Worthington, Breakout: Pioneers of the Future, Prison Guards of the Past, and the Epic Battle That Will Decide America’s Fate, the title says it.  It expanded my mind into new realms, heretofore not considered.

118. Gordon Leidner, ed., The Founding Fathers: Quotes, Quips, and Speeches, at age 71 on a trip to Colonial Virginia, gave a big boost to my patriotism and love of country.  Much of it was copied into my Commonplace Files.

119. David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, a critique of Evangelical Christianity by an insider was refreshing, educational, and thought provoking.

120. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel, introduced me to the realities of the life of a Muslim woman. She  abandoned the traditions, rose to political stature in Europe, but because she spoke against Islam, her life is now sought by the fundamentalist radicals.

121. Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, of great help to me, both personally and as a handbook during the three times I served as a bishop.

122. Leo Tolstoy, What Men Live By, a short story about a cobbler who receives three divine lessons.

123. Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, introduced me to  America’s entry into WW II, the first and best of his Liberation Trilogy.
124. C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, a busload of people are taken from Hell to Heaven, but it doesn’t turn out to be what they expect. 
125. Hugh Nibley, The Myth Makers, my first exposure to an analysis of anti-Mormon literature. 
126. Peter Hellman, Avenue of the Righteous, stories of “gentiles” who saved Jews from the Nazis, commemorated at the Yad Vashem memorial of the holocaust in Jerusalem. 
127. Sar A. Levitan, and Richard S. Belous, What’s Happening to the American Family?  isn’t good, and has only worsened since I read this in 1982. 
128. Deitrick Bonhoeffer, Letters & Papers from Prison, wartime writings of a great Christian who sadly was eventually executed by the Nazis. 
129. Ezra Taft Benson, A Labor of Love, the wonderful and miracle filled story of Elder Benson’s work to help restore the Church in Europe following WW II. 
130. Howard Hibbard, Bernini, the biography of a great Italian Renaissance sculptor, read during a period when I wanted to add more culture to my life. 
131. Yigail Yadin, The Temple Scroll, gave me a new perspective on the cultural background of a number of passages in the New Testament. It was interesting to be taught about Christian things by this famous Jew. 
132. Andy Ehat, “Joseph Smith’s Introduction Of Temple Ordinances And The 1944 Mormon Succession Question,” MA thesis, BYU, 1982, the beginnings of exposure to a deeper meaning of the temple and its ordinances. 
133. John Tolland, Battle: The Story of the Bulge, the story of the German counter-offensive after Normandy.  The courage, determination , and suffering of the allies in the thick of winter cold de-glamorized war. 
134. Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet; with a little help and personal effort I really could understand the great prophet! 
135. Yigail Yadin, Masada, an amazing story of Jewish resistance and Roman persistence which became legendary; all overlooking the Rift Valley and the Dead Sea. 
136. Januz Korczak, Ghetto Diary, story of a man who went to his death with the children of his orphanage at the hands of the Nazis.  Became an instant hero to me. 
137. Brent L. Goates, He Changed My Life, miraculous stories about President Harold B. Lee. 
138. Rex R. Eastman, The Liberty Book of Quotations, the first book(let) I mined for great quotations; a habit that is still with me. 
139. Thomas Friedman, From Beirut To Jerusalem, a well written very readable journalists account of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 
140. Liva Baker, Oliver Wendell Holmes, an interesting biography of an important Chief Justice of the Supreme Court which heightened my interest in the crafting of words. 
141. Irene M. Bates and E. Gary Smith, Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Patriarch, beginning of my studies when I was called as a patriarch. 
142. William J. Bennett, The De-Valuing of America, a conservative’s view of the weaknesses and errors of liberal philosophy and politics. 
143. Suzy Platt, Respectfully Quoted; how the staff of the Library of Congress have tracked down and verified popular quotations. 
144. Wayne Gretzky with Rick Reilly, Gretsky, An Autobiography, the story of the “Great One” in the history of hockey.  His passion produced an almost unmatchable skill on the ice, yet he seems to have remained a humble, average type guy. 
145. Alan Shepherd and Deke Slayton, Moon Shot, contains a memorable description of seeing, while re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, a meteorite coming in at two narrow of an angle and skipping off the atmosphere like a rock on a pond.  That was almost worth the cost of the book.
146. Edgar A. Guest, A Heap O’ Livin’, a collection of poems; in my own very unsophisticated way, I love many of Guest’s homespun poems, like “It Takes a Heap O’ Livin To Make A Home.” 
147. Melvin S. Tagg, “The Life of Edward James Wood,” master’s thesis, BYU, 1959, every Latter-day Saint should know about E.J. Wood, a most unusual man of faith, work,  and miracles.  
148. B. C. Forbes, The Forbes Scrapbook of Thoughts on the Business of Life, one of the best compilations in my rather extensive collection of books of quotations. 
149. Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, I gave a negative review of this book at a Mormon History Convention, and lost a potential friend. 
150. Bart D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, amazing evidence from a non-Mormon scholar that the Bible really was tampered with by those who won the theological battles of the early centuries.  Unfortunately, it was one step in the man’s losing his faith in Christianity altogether.
151. Gale E. Christianson, Edwin Hubble, Mariner of the Nebula, the bio of one of the greatest astronomers of all time. 
152. John Lewis Lund, Understanding Your Patriarchal Blessing, a whole history lays behind my association with John and the eventual publication of this book, all of which helped prepare me to soak up its message for me as a new patriarch. 
153. Vladimir Posner, Eyewitness: A Personal Account of the Unraveling of the Soviet Union, something I never expected to see in my lifetime and which I consider one of the great miracles of our age. 
154. Loren C. Dunn, Prepare now to Succeed on Your Mission, the beginning of extensive reading when we were called to preside over the California Roseville Mission. 
155. Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People, didn’t affect me the first time I read it when a teenager as much as it did when I was a mission president. 
156. Adrienne Koch, Jefferson and Madison, The Great Collaboration, story of the friendship of two of my heroes.  Both died on 4 July 1828!  No coincidence I think.... 
157. Margaret Barker, On Earth as It is in Heaven: Temple Symbolism in the New Testament,  my first exposure to this wonderful Methodist preacher, who has since written a shelf-full of books about the theology of the ancient temple, and through serendipity has become a beloved personal friend. 
158. Dallin H. Oaks, His Holy Name, expanded from a 1985 talk in General Conference which taught me more clearly the purpose and power of the Lord’s name. 
159. Hafen, Bruce C.  Covenant Hearts: Why Marriage Matters and How to Make It Last, answered a question I have been searching for, for about fifteen years.  We wept by the bedside as we read it together. 
160. Hall Urban, Life’s Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter, a short and easy read, with a powerful, thought provoking message good for any age, but especially important to the young.  I bought copies for each of my grandchildren.  I wished I would have read it before I served as a mission president.
Let's think together again, soon.


1.  Orhan Pamuk, in Bits & Pieces, September 2014, p. 23.

2.  Pat Williams, in Bits & Pieces, (September 2007), p. 21.


  1. What a great list! I have only read a handful of the books on this list and so now I have some great recommendations on what to read next.

    1. Thanks Matt. It has been a great odyssey, and many fond memories return as I review the list occasionally. Happy reading. And check back now and then for any updates I may adde.

  2. I've only read 16 of these books. Now I have some more to add to my list. Thank You. - Debbie

    1. Debbie, thank you. I'm curious which 16? Happy reading.

  3. How can we get a copy of this? 104. Danel W. Bachman, "A Study of the Mormon Practice of Plural Marriage before the Death of Joseph Smith," I wrote it as a master's thesis at Purdue University in 1975. How can that not change your life? Arthur King Henry had a list of 100 books that people should read in one of his books. I think the book is Arm the Children: Faith's Response to a Violent World (Byu Studies Monographs. I love reading list like this. I plan on reading many of these books before the end of my life.

  4. Anonymous, the thesis is in several libraries in Utah and of course Purdue. I think Purdue lets it go on interlibrary loan, but I don't think that is the case in Utah. It has been widely copied by the "Mormon underground," but I cannot speak to the quality of those copies.

    Thanks for the note about Arthur Henry King's list, I'll take a look at it.