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The 10 Most Influential Books in My Life

The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher
The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher

A hiking friend and insatiable reader, recently challenged a group of us to name the 10 books that have the biggest influence on our lives, and to then challenge 10 more friends to the same task. Chain challenges being all the frenzy, this one appealed to me, a lover of the written word, more than the Ice Bucket Challenge or the Liebster award, which swept the blogosphere this spring.

My wife and I love books and our house is full of them. I stopped counting at 26 bookcases years ago and if the Kindle and iPad hadn’t come along, our second floor have probably collapsed under the weight of the books that we’ve purchased over the years. Truth be told, I married my wife in part because she was the first woman I’d ever dated who said she’d rather stay at home and read books on a Friday night together instead of going out.

Here goes. The 10 most influential books in my life, in no particular order:

  1. Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore
  2. Dune by Frank Herbert
  3. The Man who Walked through Time by Colin Fletcher
  4. The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher
  5. The Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif
  6. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  7. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  8. The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov
  9. The White Mountain Guide, compiled and edited by Steve Smith and Mike Dickerman
  10. Losing the Garden: the Story of a Marriage by Laura Waterman


  1. If you hike and read, it’s hard to escape the influence of Colin Fletcher. Reading his work taught me that my need to travel on foot was not only acceptable, but for me, necessary.

  2. I’ll play along. Here are my Top Ten Most Influential Books in My Life, in no particular order:

    Wind, Sand and Stars – Saint-Exupery
    The Cossacks – Tolstoi
    To Have and Have Not – Hemingway
    The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Pirsig
    The Monkey Wrench Gang – Abbey
    Desert Solitaire – Abbey
    Freedom of the Hills – Editors of The Mountaineers
    Night Flight – Saint-Exupery
    Zen and the Art of Archery – Herrigel

  3. Philip, if you like Colin Fletcher, then “The Thousand Mile Summer” is a must read. It took him 6 months to do 1000 miles, but hey, starting out with 60 lbs., that’s good. BTW,,him and Gregory Packs are the ones who started the switch from external to internal frame packs.

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