Five Most Influential Books

Here is the list of my Top Five Most Influential Books, in ascending order:

5)Hilarity Ensues- Tucker Max (Miss Vermont Story)

This isn’t really about the book itself, or any of Tucker Max’s fratire books. My advice for anyone who is struggling with the notion that achieving what you want is easy, do the following:

Find the book Hilarity Ensues, skip to the Miss Vermont Story, read the story in its entirety, paying particular attention to the subsequent lawsuit and aftermath, and you’ll know how much character and heart this man has. I’m a fan of all of Tucker’s writing, but this one story inspires me to never give up, no matter what obstacles one must face.

4) The Alchemist- Paulo Coelho

The only fiction book to make the list, this gem from Paulo Coelho is a must-read for those who have a sense of adventure, but are unsure of what steps one must take. This book was of particular importance to my journeys over the last year, as I dropped out of college, traveled/lived in five different cities, until I found my home in Las Vegas. In life, it’s always important to remember that the destination is less important than the trip to get there.

3) Last Words- George Carlin

Those who know me personally know that I’m a HUGE George Carlin fan, and have been ever since I saw Complaints and Grievances in 2001. What I didn’t know then, and learned from this book, is the incredible hardships he endured while becoming a comedy icon. It’s a reminder that nothing worthwhile comes easy, and that in order to create real change, one must be willing to fight the established status-quo.

2) Choose Yourself!- James Altucher

The book that very well saved my life and my sanity during my travels this summer. For anyone that has fallen into the deepest wells of depression, fear, and anxiety, this book possesses nuggets of wisdom to help anyone see their true potential, and the confidence to execute on that potential. As I  mentioned on Twitter yesterday, I’m now on my 5th re-reading of this book; there’s too much good stuff in there to gather in one reading.

1) Buddhism For Busy People- David Michie

While Choose Yourself! saved me from a dismal fate this year, this book saved me from a dreadful existence far younger. I was 24 and in the midst of my worst-year ever: The (what I thought would be) the end of my golf career; a failed transition to Phoenix; a terrible, co-dependent relationship that was going nowhere; and a dwindling social circle because of my constant rage at the world. I had very little knowledge of customs outside the Western tradition, and when I searched “Buddhism” in my library’s database, this book was on top. It reaffirmed things I had felt internally, but could never comprehend intellectually. Once I began to apply the concepts of Buddhism into my life, the shift was sudden and profound. This doesn’t mean I suddenly found happiness and affluence; it was quite the opposite. But it did shift what I valued and what I prioritized most in my life. I revisit this book fairly often, especially when I’m in a rut, or need a reminder of what really matters in this life.

Do you have a list of the most influential books that have had an impact on your life? Please share in the comments below. Also, follow me on Twitter (@MikeGuillen_1), Facebook (, and/or Instagram (@MikeGuillen_1).


About mikeguillenblog

Nevada resident who splits time between Las Vegas and Phoenix. I'm a former professional golfer turned author, freelance writer, and blogger.
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