In no particular order, they are:
- The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to quit school and get a real life and education by Grace Llewellyn. More than a polemic on/defence of home schooling, it celebrates an attitude about education that I wish I'd been exposed to when I was in school.
- The Tyranny of Niceness: Unmasking the Need for Approval by Evelyn Sommers. A new classic that should be read by anyone who has ever doubted her/his need to express a true opinion or desire. That it is written by a Canadian is just too apt.
- Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (often referred to as the guy-with-the-unpronounceable-name), a psychologist who studies creativity and 'Optimal Experience'. This book is more the 'how to' version of his more academic tome, Flow. In it, he breaks down that state one gets into when working/playing at peak efficiency...breaks it down, describes it, and challenges each one of us to try to attain that high level of experience more often.
- Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton. "Keeping up with the Joneses" described, explained, and...forgiven. But the message is clear that your life will be better if you can rise above it, and de Botton's easy philosophical prose inspires you to re-evaluate your beliefs and values. Paradigm shifting, if you'll excuse the cliche...
Here's the challenge: What books would you add to the curriculum at the University of Life? What book has inspired you? Changed you?