A few months back, at the request of several readers, I put together a list of history books. This week I’d like to broaden that a bit and list a number of books that are not terribly well-known, but which are important.
There is a wide variety of books on this list, but they are all unique and well-worth reading.
Listen Little Man!, by Wilhelm Reich. The next time you have a nasty day and want to shake the world by the lapels and scream into its face to Wake up!, read this book. Wilhelm Reich was a really smart psycho-analyst who had been done wrong lots of times… and who really knew how to be pissed-off effectively. Once you’re done with the book, of course, you should let go of the anger; it’s not good for you. But for that occasional time when you’d like to see someone give the idiots their due, this is your book.
The Murder of Christ, by Wilhelm Reich. (The title notwithstanding, this is not about religion.) There’s something about this book. Not that I agree with all of it, of course. Reich’s answer to most everything is sex, and that’s just not correct… and there are other things in this book that I think are incorrect. Still, this book touches on things that I’ve seldom, if ever, seen anywhere else. It can be hard to find (the US government actually burned them in 1956!), but reprints are available. It’s an experience.
Legitimating Identities: The Self-Presentations of Rulers and Subjects, by Rodney Barker. Great coverage of one of the most important, but least known, factors in human civilization: legitimacy. Without legitimacy, governance fails, quickly and inevitably.
Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz. This is one of those books that serious people just end up reading. The book is old (published in 1960), but if you find successful people of a certain age, the odds are very good that they’ve read this book.
The Strangest Secret, by Earl Nightingale. This is a transcript of his original speech of 1956. Like Psycho-Cybernetics, this old book – and the other works of Earl Nightingale – affected a great number of people, and very positively.
Coming Back to Life: The After-Effects of the Near-Death Experience, by P.M.H. Atwater. This is one of the first and best near-death-experience books. There is a lot to think about in this book, but more important than the life-after-death aspects are the psychological insights into an adult who experiences a very deep and clear restart to her life.
The God of the Machine, by Isabel Patterson. Way ahead of its time. This book from 1943 covers a wide swath of important and interesting material.