What books changed my life? The Authors Collection


Top Ten books that have influenced me

A few weeks ago I accepted a challenge to list the top ten books that changed my life.

Hmmmm….life changers, huh? That’s a pretty tall order.

Not just books you read and liked, but for some reason had an influence on the way you think and live.

To narrow it down to just ten was the hardest part of the challenge.

Here goes, in no particular order:

1. The Holy Bible

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

3. When All the World Was Young by Ferrol Sams

4. God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

5. State of Fear by Michael Crichton

6. None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen

7. Swiftwater by Paul Annixter

8. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

9. All the President’s Men by Woodward & Bernstein

10. In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman

This list first appeared on FaceBook and of the ten, Dan Brown’s novel sparked the most questions. Most of them were, How did THAT book get on the list?”

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown


When Dan Brown’s fourth book hit the bestseller lists I did not notice. My reading time was invested in books by either Michael Crichton or John Grisham. The Da Vinci Code spent 166 weeks on the New York Times best seller list (number seven all time) and did not get my attention until after it had been on that list for over two years. Finally, I asked myself, what is it about that book that makes it so popular? I had read no reviews and had no idea what the subject matter involved, nor the plot.

It grabbed me and would not let go. I devoted every spare minute to reading about Robert Langdon and his adventures. #Signs and symbols have always fascinated me. My interest in art and painting began when I started painting signs. Science and technology along with mythology have interested me since I reached the age of enlightenment. Brown included all of these enticements and they all worked on me. At the time I first read The Da Vinci Code, my thinking on religion had been influenced and molded from a childhood in a Judeo-Christian environment. I was raised Methodist. In spite of an ecumenical interest in other denominations and their beliefs, rituals, and customs, I had no incentive to change — until I read this book.

The Holy Grail was to me, mythology. It never occurred to me that it could have been real, or that it could have been a vessel other than a stein, mug, or chalice. In retrospect, rather than The Da Vinci Code, another book should be on my list in its place: Holy Blood, Holy Grail: The Secret History of Christ & The Shocking Legacy of the Grail however, it made its splash in the early 1980’s at a time when such outlandish proposals impressed me more as blasphemy than a real possibility.

Looking back now on this interesting story, I find the most implausible aspect is the suggestion that so many events could happen to one man on several continents all in just twenty-four hours. After I read Angels and Demons and the Deception Point, I grew tired of Brown’s unchanging formula.

The Da Vinci Code has had a lasting impact on me in several ways.

Only one other book on my list has caused as much research on a number of different and seemingly unrelated topics. (A blog on Crichton’s State of Fear is forthcoming.)

Thanks to Dan Brown’s tale, I have purchased books and studied symbolism, subliminal advertising, the Holy Grail, Leonardo Da Vinci’s works, mythology (Hero With A Thousand Faces by Campbell), women of the Bible (Mary Magdalene in particular), the origins of the Biblical canon, the Council of Nicea, Rennes-le-Chateau, the Knights Templar, the Priory of Sion, and Opus Dei.

Was I obsessed? Was I seeking answers? Will these topics continue to cause me to ask questions? Whether or not I arrive at undeniable conclusions or continue the journey for answers, one thing is for sure.

Thanks to The Da Vinci Code, my horizons have been broadened like few other influences.

Please click the book cover image to read more about FCEtier and his novels.


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