Inspirational Books

Inspirational Books

Author
Discussion

Slowboathome

Original Poster:

104 posts

11 months

Saturday 27th February
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Any suggestions for an inspirational book? Was thinking in terms of biographies (maybe by sports people) but open to all suggestions.....

NMNeil

2,132 posts

17 months

Saturday 27th February
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Sir Douglas Bader biography.

Slowboathome

Original Poster:

104 posts

11 months

Tuesday 2nd March
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NMNeil said:
Sir Douglas Bader biography.
Thanks for the suggestion. I think I read 'Reach for The Sky' when I was a boy, and found it humbling. Might be time to revisit it.

M22s

380 posts

116 months

Saturday 13th March
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Mans search for meaning by viktor e. frankl

An account of concentration camps, from the point of view of psychologist and prisoner. I have never read a book like it!

glazbagun

11,844 posts

164 months

Sunday 14th March
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On a similar note, If This Is A Man / The Truce by Primo Levi of his experiences in Auschwitz and surviving in the immediate chaotic aftermath may be the best book I've ever read.

For some reason it moved me much more than Frankl's book, perhaps because I was expecting a grim read but instead got a raft of character studies, of what survives and what doesn't, with little in the way of moralising over the towering atrocity he's living through daily, it being relegated by a burning imperative to be remembered.

His reflections on his own usefulness, the things he does and doesn't judge people on, etc, his descriptions of characters and his interpretations of their moral codes are remarkable in their sensitivity.

Edited by glazbagun on Sunday 14th March 12:20

happy day

6 posts

4 months

Sunday 14th March
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I'd third Frankl, amazing book. He was a practicing psychiatrist before he was imprisoned. I can vouch that some of the methods he suggests for dealing with adversity have real everyday applications.

On a different tack, I'll also chuck in Pirsig's Zen and art of motorcycle maintenance. A really inspirational mash up of travelogue, novel, philosophy and engineering.

Slowboathome

Original Poster:

104 posts

11 months

Sunday 14th March
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Thanks for the suggestions!

Just checking - I've not come across the Frankl or Levi ones at all, but they sound a bit depressing?

I read 'Zen & The Art....' when I was 14 and found it pretty gloomy tbh.

Maybe I need to reach for the Enid Blytons........

glazbagun

11,844 posts

164 months

Sunday 14th March
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It depends on what depresses you and what you consider inspiring, I guess. Triumph over adversity needs adversity, after all.

Frankl's book is frequently cited as inspiring. He was a psychologist concerned with methods for preventing suicide before the Nazi's took away his old life and threw him in a camp where they took away everything else. In this place where noone had anything and had every reason to despair, he noticed a difference between those who continued to live and those who gave up. In fact he could even spot the moment when people did. At the same time, he noticed that the Nazi's couldn't take away his freedom of choice within his own mind, and that although he faced adversity, he could choose how to face it.

His experiences led him (after the war) to refine his ideas from before the war and emphasized the power of having meaning in life, any meaning at all. That those who could find meaning could endure anything and that those who could not were lost.

It's a good book, with lots of good observations. If I were to criticise it, it would be to say that it was perhaps a little neat, given the books central theme of meaning which runs through it. I felt underwhelmed by it, but that's a subjective thing.

Levi's book doesn't propose any great meaning and in fact is a record of the completely arbitrary debasement that men can be reduced to. In a system designed to kill you, noone survives by following the rules and Levi himself gets out alive only by the most random collection of chances and proactivity and at the cost of much of his own humanity.

What strikes me as inspirational in Levi's book is his survival in the aftermath and his observations of other people, the way that "good" and "bad" can be down to something as simple as a gesture that betrays your values. The way that a pair of good shoes and a full stomach is a luxury beyond all imagination. That, even in a system where goodness can't survive, good people still exist. By having his bar set so low, he is able to appreciate gestures and character traits that we miss all the time in our civilised life.

I haven't read Zen & Motorcycle Maintenance, but it has a good reputation. If you want a quick feel-good slap up the side of the head, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a fk by Mark Manson is good at reframing your perspectives and as irreverent as you'd expect given the title.

Edited by glazbagun on Sunday 14th March 15:59

Crafty_

12,987 posts

167 months

Sunday 14th March
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A different kind of life - Virginia Williams

As much as Frank was utterly determined to continue as normal (or as close as possible), so was she. The lengths she went to and the things she took on without a second thought were quite remarkable. Interest int he book was re-kindled a few years ago when the Williams film came out, sadly she had passed a couple of years before that.

Slowboathome

Original Poster:

104 posts

11 months

Tuesday 16th March
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Thanks again for all the suggestions and insights. Fair point about the need to overcome adversity being a necessary component of an inspirational book.

I read 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving ....' a few years ago and really liked it. I'd like to re-read it but threw it out in a house move a few years ago. The Williams book hadn't occurred to me - I vaguely remember really enjoying a TV documentary about their story a few years ago.

The replies to my original post have helped me to focus on what I'm looking for:

'Can anyone recommend an inspirational book which tells the true story of someone with mental health problems (or a dysfunctional personality) who overcame their innate weaknesses and made something of themselves?'

Asking for a friend, obviously.





Lee_sec

328 posts

165 months

Sunday 4th April
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Cant Hurt Me by David Goggins - a true warriror who's been through some tough situations and pushed his body and mind further than most would dream possible

ACCYSTAN

380 posts

88 months

Monday 5th April
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Hunter, Hammer and Heaven, Three Worlds Gone Mad - Robert Young Pelton

The hiding place - Corrie Ten Boom


aparna

543 posts

4 months

Tuesday 6th April
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Slowboathome said:
Any suggestions for an inspirational book? Was thinking in terms of biographies (maybe by sports people) but open to all suggestions.....
I thought of this thread whilst reading the thread below. Pics of cool people, from sports, film etc. I bet their biographies are inspirational.

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

I like most of the books mentioned, but they sound a bit 'broccoli'. Some times you need something with a bit more butter.

Slowboathome

Original Poster:

104 posts

11 months

Tuesday 6th April
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Lee_sec said:
Cant Hurt Me by David Goggins - a true warriror who's been through some tough situations and pushed his body and mind further than most would dream possible
I've read this! The guy is an absolute machine. Great suggestion.

ACCYSTAN said:
Hunter, Hammer and Heaven, Three Worlds Gone Mad - Robert Young Pelton

The hiding place - Corrie Ten Boom
Never hear of these - I'll investigate. Thank you!

aparna said:
I thought of this thread whilst reading the thread below. Pics of cool people, from sports, film etc. I bet their biographies are inspirational.

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...
That's a really good idea - thanks. I read one of Michael Johnson's books ages ago and it switched me on to the idea of discipline and hard work. Maybe I just need to reread some stuff.

rayny

676 posts

168 months

Friday 14th May
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'Cry Of A Man Running', by Ward McNally

Randy Winkman

9,976 posts

156 months

Thursday 20th May
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By chance, about 10 mins ago I finished reading "Marvellous" by Neil Baldwin and Malcolm Clarke. It's an autobiography about a fella (Neil Baldwin) with "learning difficulties" who becomes a clown, a kit-man at Stoke City football club and an unofficial/unpaid, but well established part of Keele University. Toby Jones played the lead role in a TV film of the same name.


MrBrightSi

2,792 posts

137 months

Saturday 22nd May
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Candide by Voltaire. Reads incredibly quickly and combines more tragedies than any other book i've read. It's an epic in which optimism and cynicism are constantly battling through 2 of the main characters with Candide in the middle.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. How the most powerful man in the world(at the time) wrote a book of reflection which has some incredible understanding/views. Admittedly his lifestyle wasn't for everyone (Especially his son) but the "Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one." says it all for the book and his stoicism.

Anything by Alan Watts

If you want a biography/memoir - With the Old Breed - Eugene Sledge

p4cks

5,647 posts

166 months

Saturday 22nd May
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Taming tigers by Jim lawler. Changed my life after seeing him describe what he’d done, then done again totally at random.

I’d recommend this book to anyone, although my measure of success might not be the same I’m on double now than I was when I first saw him

glazbagun

11,844 posts

164 months

Saturday 22nd May
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Yes! I always have Meditations lying around the house for a quick injection of stoicism, its an amazing work to have survived the ages, all the moreso considering its origin.

How timeless the problems mankind faces remain.