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Has Any Non-Religious Literary Work Had A Positive Influence On Your Life?

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naomi24 | 09:02 Wed 19th Mar 2014 | Religion & Spirituality
33 Answers
Does Shakespeare hold more wisdom than any religious book? Sir Trevor Nunn thinks so. He argues that Shakespeare’s works teach an “understanding of the human condition” not present in Holy books of any religion.



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At a particular time in my life, when I found things overwhelming, I found help in Richard
Carlson's 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.'

I think The History of Mr Polly showed me that it wasn't just me dissatisfied with my lot. I wouldn't say it had any great influence.
I wonder did, How to make friends and influence people, help many?
I do agree that Shakespeare's works cover most human conditions. I have found many literary works uplifting, thought provoking and inspiring. That is the joy of reading.
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance by Robert Pirsig..
You will see the world differently once you have read it.(for a few weeks at least)
Yes, all of them :)

There is the argument that religion has been a part of society for such a long time, and that it has exerted much more force than it does now, and so forms (or claims to form) many of the principles which make up "the human condition".

I do think Hamlet does a better job than the bible. I like a bit of humanism.
Alice in Wonderland contains some excellent "understanding of the human condition".
"You'll get over it" by Virginia Ironside, Terry Pratchett books, particularly the more recent ones, too much poetry by various authors to list.
Oh and "Bad Science" and "Bad Pharma"
"Games people play" by Eric Berne
Taught me how to spot manipulators, power-grabbers, sympathy-seekers and many other types who use different techniques to get their own way. Also some who are just determined to put others down in order to make themselves feel important.
Pseuds, in other words.

"Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

taught me that;

“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.”
"Catch 22". On the first read I thought it was hilarious. On the second read, I though, "Hey, this is actually pretty serious". On the third read, I concluded that I'd never come across a more damning anti-war book in my life.
Several, I would say. Gerald Durrells series of stories documenting his travels and collection of animals inspired in me an abiding interest in the natural world and travelling.

I have always been an avid Sci-Fi reader, and works by greats like Asimov and later people like Iain Banks have sparked and fuelled an interest in all elements of science, along with books by people like Sagan (Cosmos, Daemon Haunted World)

Robert Trestles Ragged Trousered Philanthropists was a learning experience, too.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being was an education; as was VS Naipuls In a Free State.
I agree entirely with Sir Trevor Nunn.
Shakespeare's understanding of human emotions, strengths and weaknesses are so profound as to be almost unbelievable as the product of a single human mind. Absorbing these (a life's task still in progress) has helped me understand much of other's behaviour and motivation, I think.
HOWEVER, TO NAME A SPECIFIC BOOK, off the top of my head I'll go for:
"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. It's a sci-fi about the fire brigade whose role is to cause fires - i.e. burn books. A warning about a future
drug/TV-happy society who are kept in that state and told that "books make you unhappy"
P.S. The film was better than the book (rare).
Heathfield. I agree re. Catch 22.
I recommended it to many people when I saw only the comedic side of it.
I re-recommended it to the same people when I eventually saw behind the humour.
It works on many levels.
Richard Bach's classic, Illusions (The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah) deals with belief and certainly affected me in a positive way.

Everyone I have ever recommended it to has read it cover to cover without a break. It is that compelling.

I found all his books fascinating.
Another good one that everyone should read is Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet".

One of the greatest philosophical books ever written.
Well many of promises referred to by Shakespeare were those of English cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who wielded great political power in England during the 16th century. Some would say that Shakespeare’s description also fits most of the promises they hear today. Time and again, people are promised much but receive little.

It is not to difficult to understand why they become skeptical of any promises, Now with the Bible promises all has come true, so there a big diference.( Jer 10:23)
Promises,promises, nothing but promises...what are you on about GL?
Winnie the Pooh!

GL, why not, just for once, answer the question in the OP
IN YOUR OWN words, without cutting and pasting and show us you're not a robotic responder?

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