Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 6, 2009 6:45 AM

The Most Valuable Book You Ever Read

As BookCamp Toronto is about to start, it go me thinking about what, exactly, books are and what they really mean (why do people love them so much)?

Lately, some very smart people (like Jeff Jarvis - author of What Would Google Do? and Blogger over at, BuzzMachine), has pleaded for the modernization of books and the book publishing industry. Jarvis commented at the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishers conference in New York City this past year that for books to make it in a world of new media, they have to be findable, clickable, editable, commentable, updatable, searchable, linkable, etc...

It makes perfect sense, or does it?

Is it possible that books hold a two-step layer of appreciation, where that initial phase (the one where you simply read the book) is a very personal and intimate experience? It could be one of the few things in our world of online social networks and constant tweets that you share solely with yourself, and once that phase is complete, the discussion and sharing about your emotions (both online and in places like real-world book club meet-ups), is the part that needs to focus more on the new media and social aspects we're seeing online?

Books are going to have to figure out their way in this new world where individuals co-create, collaborate and manipulate their own media.

Still, books hold tremendous value to most people. They are objects to be honoured, cherished and even passed down from generation-to-generation. It is still the primary way we - as a society - preserve our stories, cultures, history and intellect.

In getting in the mood for the BookCamp Toronto unconference, I wondered:

What was the most valuable book you ever read?

I'm still grappling with the question, so I figured your most powerful read might inspire me.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Paul
    Mitch Joel

    Rohinton Mistry's 'A Fine Balance'. Incredible story of misery and poverty tempered by improbable friendships.

    Reply
  • Posted by John Wall
    Mitch Joel

    7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    http://bit.ly/7habits

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    For me its equal
    The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
    Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton

    both change the way one looks at the world, society and the way we interact

    Reply
  • Posted by Bill
    Mitch Joel

    The Agony and the Ectasy, I was amazed to learn about Michelangelo and waht he accomplished and how he lived. I was also inspired by his passion for art and life.

    Reply
  • Posted by Chris
    Mitch Joel

    Dr. Stephen R. Covey -

    7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    Reply
  • Posted by Rebecca
    Mitch Joel

    Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam

    I now see the concept of 'social capital' in everything I do, work and personal...

    Reply
  • Posted by YM
    YM

    It's a close call between Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers and What Would Buffy Do?

    Reply
  • Posted by Lucan McRandall
    Lucan McRandall

    The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
    Demian by Hermann Hesse

    Reply
  • Posted by denise cox
    Mitch Joel

    Daniel Pink "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future". Helped me understand the direction the world is going. Really intense Big Picture stuff. Loved it.

    Reply
  • Posted by Darby
    Mitch Joel

    Three books immediately pop to mind for me:

    The Millionaire Mind by by Thomas J. Stanley

    Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

    The Art of War by Sun Tzu

    Reply
  • Posted by Tiffany Bourre
    Mitch Joel

    1) To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

    2) East of Eden - John Steinbeck

    Reply
  • Posted by Susan Macaulay
    Mitch Joel

    Wow. Tough to choose one... But if forced to:

    The Alchemist, Paulo Coehlho

    Reply
  • Posted by Scott Goldblatt
    Mitch Joel

    "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein -

    Reply
  • Posted by Dave Carter
    Mitch Joel

    Without question. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    And very pertinent to today's lurch toward Socialism.

    Reply
  • Posted by Neo
    Mitch Joel

    The Game by Neil Strauss. It opened a lot of paths to other book in self improvement.

    Reply
  • Posted by Doug Kreitzberg
    Mitch Joel

    Tough to choose one. In this context, I'd say The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner.

    Reply
  • Posted by Sass Peress
    Mitch Joel

    The Celestine Prophecy

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    The most valuable book I ever read was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson. Especially if the illustrations by Ralph Steadman count towards the value.

    Reply
  • Posted by Karen
    Karen

    I read an average of four books a month (not counting fiction). I simply love ideas and books are the best way for me to find them.
    Here are a few of my "must reads"
    Jack Canfield's "The Success Principles".
    "Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
    "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton
    "The Whuffie Factor" by Tara Hunt
    And, I am currently reading "What Would Google Do" and I find it to be tremendously thought provoking.

    Reply
  • Posted by Dan
    Mitch Joel


    If you would like to implement some of Stephen Covey’s best ideas, you can use this web aplication:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (in each of your life’s categories), projects and tasks, in an intuitive interface. It has a Checklists section, for the repetitive activities you have to do, important but not urgent (Quadrant II, for example your routines/habits). Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time, activities and for the weekly review.

    Some features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

    And it’s available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it wherever you are.

    Reply
  • Posted by Cindy Goldrick
    Mitch Joel

    Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It scared the crap out of me when I was 15 but have read it at least 5 times since and see something different and deeper in it each time, with a new layer of life experience behind me.

    But what I find interesting is that what you're talking about above is essentially electronic marginalia -- jotting down your thoughts on a text and interacting with it to make it your own. It becomes a new text with the palimpsest of your interpretation overlaid on it. Then it becomes a new work.

    Reply
  • Posted by Maria
    Mitch Joel


    The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

    and

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Reply
  • Posted by beverly
    Mitch Joel

    If I had to chose one it would be
    The Prophet by Kahill Gibran

    But these are valuable too -

    Candide by Voltaire

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair by Robert Pirsig

    The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's

    Reply
  • Posted by Ashish
    Mitch Joel

    The Origin of Species 1st Edition. Charles Darwin

    Reply
  • Posted by Moshe
    Mitch Joel

    The Bible, and I mean what some call "The Old Testament." Everything that's ever been is coming from there, but be sure to include the Talmud and the Zohar (i.e. the "Commentaries"), or you'll be missing out big time and what it's really saying.

    Reply
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