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See here: http://jseliger.com/2010/03/22/influential-books-on-me-that-... for a list of influential books on me. I actually have a half-written post on books I wish I'd read when I was younger; here it is:

1. <em>Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience</em> by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

2. <em>The Guide to Getting It On</em> by Paul Johannides [sp?]

3. <em>The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature</em> by Geoffrey Miller

4. <em>Hackers & Painters</em> by Paul Graham

5. <em>Man's Search for Meaning</em> by Viktor Frankl

6. <em>Stumbling on Happiness</em> by Daniel Gilbert

In all cases, I think these books profoundly shaped how not only I think, but I think others can learn to think too. All suddenly revealed new connections and ideas about the world I'd never experienced or expected to experience before.

Granted, no book can be removed from its context, and its possible that if I'd read some of the books above as a younger person I wouldn't have been ready to appreciate them. But <em>Flow</em> seems by far the most valuable of the choices listed above because it engulfs more of the content of the others than any other choice.

Steven Berlin Johnson's new book Where Ideas Come From looks promising: http://www.amazon.com/Where-Good-Ideas-Come-Innovation/dp/15... .

I'll have to second #3, the Mating Mind. It put a lot of stuff about dating into context.

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