Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

The Ten Books Thingie

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 3, 2014

There’s a little thingie going on right now on Facebook about the ten books that influenced you the most. I’m posting them here because … well, Facebook. And because it is a fun topic for a blog post.

This is a weird question, of course, because a book might have influenced me via the Butterfly Effect. So maybe the book wasn’t much of a direct influence on me internally, but indirectly it caused a small course-change in my life that had long-reaching effect. So a lot of my favorite books (mostly fiction) aren’t really the most influential. I’m totally cool with that. I’m happy with my awesome escapist fantasies not exerting a powerful influence on me…

… except a lot of them did. I can’t vouch for the order, and I expect six of my choices to have changed by tomorrow, but at this particular moment of my life, here are the books that come to mind. And maybe it’s cheating to make so many of them be a series or a collection of books, but in this case, if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

1. The scriptures (particularly Bible & Book of Mormon)

2. The Lord of the Rings series. How could it not be?

3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Can’t recommend this book enough, actually.

4. The House With a Clock In Its Walls. Today’s kids have Harry Potter, which is awesome. But when I was a kid, this was one of my early experiences with urban fantasy / horror geared for younger readers, and it was wonderful.

5. The Conan series (particularly but not exclusively the ones penned by Robert E. Howard). This was probably a bigger influence on my love of fantasy that Tolkien.

6. Bullfinch’s Mythology. Before I got into fantasy, I discovered mythology (mainly in the 4th grade) – particularly Greek / Roman – and was fascinated.

7. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons core rulebooks. First edition. Seriously. Where would I be / what would I be doing if I’d never discovered these?

8. The official book of Ultima. It may have been that book that caused me to seriously attempt to get a job at a game company after college. I remain fascinated by the stories of how those early games were ceated.

9. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution by Steven Levy. I haven’t read it in a while, but for about a decade I think I re-read it every 2-3 years.

10. The Millionaire Next Door. A jumping-off place for some pretty profound changes to my understanding of the difference between money and wealth.

Wow. I feel like I just barely got started on the list, and I’m already up to ten. Like I said, I’ll probably want to replace six of them by tomorrow, but there you go.

Filed Under: Books - Comments: 7 Comments to Read

  • LateWhiteRabbit said,

    The Advanced Dungeons and Dragons rulebooks are up there pretty high for myself as well. I remember my friends and I getting HeroQuest the board game when we were about 10, and we played it constantly for months, making up more and more elaborate house rules as we went along. Then, one week, we made a new friend, and invited him over to play. He listened patiently as we explained all our custom rules, and then laughed at us. “You know,” he said,”that you all are basically trying to invent Dungeons and Dragons, right?” We had never heard of such a thing. And then he opened his backpack and there were the Core Rulebooks, presented to blow our little minds.

    Amazing what a book presented at the right time in your life can do….

  • McTeddy said,

    AD&D was actually big for me becoming a dev too.

    I was stupidly young and my older brother tried to teach me to play a Dark Sun campaign. But, I couldn’t wrap my head around the “I can do anything” rules at this age.

    So he ended up simplifying the rules to create a wrestling themed role-playing game.

    That was one of two events in my life that taught me to create my own fun. This is the single coolest lesson I’ve learned because I’m rarely bored no matter how broke I am.

  • Anon said,

    “I’m posting them here because … well, Facebook.”

    And here I am, stupid, ’cause I thought I was safe here…

  • Xian said,

    Just off the top of my head, I probably can’t name 10, but some of the ones that influenced me were:

    Edgar Rice Burroughs Pellucidar and Barsoom series – these were my introduction to fantasy at an early age

    The White Mountains by John Christopher – the first sci-fi book that I read as a child

    Dune – one of the first hard science fiction books that I read

    Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – probably my favorite book

    Shogun/Noble House/Taipan – pretty much any of James Clavells Asian novels, and probably the main reason I became interested in the Orient and even lived there for a while

    Genghis series by Conn Iggulden – this series fascinated me. Although it was fiction, most of the events were real such as the Mongols being the only army to ever successfully invade Moscow in the winter. What blew my mind the most was the death of Obedai Khan, Genghis son and heir. After Genghis’s death, he became Khan, and under his leadership the horde got all the way to modern day Budapest. That was the last outpost of western civilization, and there was really nothing to stop them from rolling right on through Europe all the way to France and the Atlantic. Right after the conquest of Budapest, Obedai died, so the horde turned around to go back to Eastern Asia to select the new Khan. One man’s death pretty much changed the entire course of history, can you imagine what it have been like if the Mongols had not stopped and ruled from Pacific to Atlantic? We might all be speaking Chinese today.

    Dr. C.Wacko’s Miracle Guide to Designing and Programming Your Own Atari Computer Arcade Games – this title with the unlikely name was my introduction to computer programming, back in 1984

  • Maklak said,

    I count myself lucky to find a fan of World of Darkness before I was even introduced to DnD. WoD was quite an influence and I find point-buy RPG systems to be much preferable to class systems.

    A few books explaining what jews are doing to people, such as “holocaust Industry” and “100 lies of Gross” were an influence too.

    Other than that, I guess a collection of popular science books and TV programmes I’ve seen as a kid, with 21 physics experiments coming to mind. Oh and Sciencetific American, of course.

  • Cuthalion said,

    I only made it to 7 when someone got me on FB.

    1. Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer
    2. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
    3. The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
    4. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
    5. The Bellmaker by Brian Jacques
    6. Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
    7. The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien

  • Cuthalion said,

    Counting Scriptures felt like cheating to me, but since you did, I’ll throw in the Bible. 😛