50 of My Favourite Books, Films and TV series
I first pay tribute to Tom Butler-Bowdon who is most notable for the "50 Classics" series of books, which provide commentaries on key writings in personal development, psychology, philosophy and economics.
I was introduced to his books by my personal trainer-cum-guru, Tony Lowe, at a low point in my life when I exclaimed to him, whilst pedaling furiously on his exercise bike, that I was working too hard, earning too little and enjoying nothing much in particular!
Tom Butler-Bowden appears to have done all the real hard work sifting and sorting out what really needs to be read and what can be discarded, and it was an easy thing for me to determine exactly what classic material might speak to my heart most powerfully, and more importantly - most rapidly. Many of the books now in my own list of classic reads, were first summarised and described in Butler-Bowden's. So if you want a second opinion on what I have here then you don't have far to go.
Now that I have started populating this list with various titles it strikes me that I am going to have to re-read and re-purchase most of these books once again. I have made it a habit of handing most of these book on to people who could really benefit from their wisdom; but that has always been my pleasure.
50 Prosperity Classics
Attract It, Create It, Manage It, Share It: Wisdom From the Most Valuable Books on Wealth Creation and Abundance - a great head start for any business owner, entrepreneur or manager.
The Banana Splits Show
Children's TV Classic
Wow! This really takes me back to Saturday mornings as a kid. It was like these guys were on drugs but we knew nothing of drugs way back then. Or perhaps they were the forerunners of ADHD. So much fun and all the cartoons in between.
The First Show
Michael E. Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited
The line that totally seized my attention was - 'what you really need is idiot-proof systems and procedures that enable merely good people to do extraordinary things'.
An Oscar Winning Biopic
What an absolute tour de force covering the great man's achievements from his times in South Africa to his death in India. The release of the film was perfectly timed for me as I had just completed an O' Level in 20th century history.
Just Like Jill Planning to do Time
Rural Development: Putting the Last First
"An absolute classic piece of work describing what we as development specialists can sometimes do well but where we, more often than not fail dismally.Go straight to the chapter on Rural Poverty Unobserved; The Six Biases."
For an update on the Biases
Indiana Jones & The Raiders of the Lost
Rev. Canon John Young
LORD...Help My Unbelief
Though it is indeed a great evangelical tool and gentle introduction to the faith, I include this book, mainly because I know the author and in exchange for MOLL-Y branded pens I get a cheap supply. I also consider John as an amazing spirit filled person who came to our rescue when all seemed lost.
Bishop Robert Barron
An Epic TV & DVD Series
An attractive, modern and forthright series celebrating the oft hidden treasures of the Catholic Church. Written and narrated by the well respected Bishop Robert Barron this series leads to an invitation to join the Word on Fire Institute for further studies and investigation.
Children's Film - Ethical/Religious
I watched this in 2004 when on holiday in Malta. What a gloriously simple plot as an introduction for young kids into ethics and morality and some of the basics of the Christian life. The last scene also stripped back some of my growing cynicism over aid and development practices in Africa.
Parsival and the Stone From Heaven
This is a crazy tale filled with allusion, mystery and fantasy. I read it to my son at an early age and we both swam in the diffuse light which came off its pages wondering what it all really meant. But not everything has to be fully understood and we were happy to leave much of the convoluted plot floating in the air for another time.
Film Biopic of Freddy Mercury
I was never mad keen on QUEEN though they did some seminal work through the 70s and 80s and got their music into another of my favourite films - Highlander. But their performance at the Live Aid Concert in July 1985 was unforgettable as was the day and the need for action. Those scenes of famine in Africa became etched in my mind and a driver in my life - what a privilege to live and work in Ethiopia for 22 years.
Live Aid - 1985 - Radio Gaga
The Worth of Water
Technical - WaSH
"If you can digest the contents of this easy to read manual then you have all it takes to be an expert in the field of Water and Sanitation - just get someone else to do the calculations!"
Great Art by Rod Shaw
Temps Present TSR
les pédophiles de l'humanitaire
Documentary by Gaspard Lamunière
Well this one really set the cat among the pigeons - did not do my career much good either! But we fought the good fight with all our might and with right on our side. No regrets!
Our moment in the spotlight!
Day of the Triffids
A Science-fiction Novel
"At the age of around 13 this was the first proper book I ever. I so thoroughly enjoyed it I just could not put it down. The basic premise of the book, is a now, all-to common apocalyptic end of the world story."
Jesus of Nazareth
Six Part Mini Series
Dated perhaps but gets me every time. So many brilliantly acted scenes and watching it as an eleven year old child I was mesmerised. Took me too long to make sense of it all though.
The Prodigal Son! Such a Powerful scene.
The Screwtape Letters
"A great way to stir the soul, to be less critical of others and a little more introspective about our own failings. C.S. Lewis helped me commit to the Catholic Church where I suspect I always belonged."
Only Fools and Horses
Long Running Comedy Series
Far too many parallels here to my own family and while Jill is convinced she is married to an archetypal Del Boy, I am not so sure she is too dissimilar to Rodney and don't we all know a few Triggers?
This time next year - eh Jill?
The Kreutzer Sonata
A Religiously Themed Novella
"Tolstoy's controversial argument for the ideal of sexual abstinence struck a chord with me when staying in a gay and lesbian hotel in San Francisco in the late 1980s. How the book first ended up in my hands is described in my conversion story."My Conversion Story
Small is Beautiful
"I knew I should have read this book when I was at university but I delayed. And when I read it 30 years later I knew I was right then. A prophetic masterpiece that accurately predicts the state of our world right now."And he Became Catholic!
As a fresh-faced undergraduate, I was never so taken with the 'Chronicles of Narnia' by CS Lewis, nor the epic 'Lord of the Rings' by JRR Tolkein, but I really enjoyed this much simpler storyline. With each new adventure I loved to tell people "It's better to burn out than to fade away".
There can be only one!
In Search of Schrödinger's Cat
Science - Quantum Physics
"If you think religion can be baffling then try this out. Young's Double Slit Experiment and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle; both examples of faith and reason in concordance."Niels Bohr Quotations
Monkey - Journey to the West
Fantasy TV Series
Produced by Nippon TV and translated into English for the BBC and released around 1979. A great favourite and cult classic for active kids. I ended up with the same nickname as the character Zhu Bajie - better and less favourably known as ''Pigsy". Whatever!
Jan Davis & Robert Lambert
Engineering in Emergencies
"There is little that did not get into this book which is necessary for an engineer working in emergencies to know. I take one everywhere with me when working overseas."
The Meaning of Life
Film - Comedy
I nearly died watching 'Mr Creosote' and his infamous 'better... better get a bucket' scene. So very immature but I was happily immature and carefree myself way back in 1983. The Grim Reaper scene tickled me pink too!
A Wafer Thin Mint?
"After six years running my own business it was clear my negotiating skills were pathetic! I must have lost out on every deal as I was so totally ill prepared. Finding out from this book that I was a 'Blue' type was a seminal and uplifting discovery."
Kenneth Branagh's Production - 1989
I cannot recall precisely, when I began to love Shakespeare so ardently, but it was certainly not in my earlier years at secondary school when it was murdered my disinterested English teacher. I suppose I must have gained an inkling of his greatness when I spied the censured version of the porters scene in Macbeth; a character which I later played with relish on a windswept hill in Addis Ababa some 25 years later.
Non Nobis Domine
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943
History - The Second World War
"When I was a kid I watched, with a morbid fascination the 'World at War' series with Lawrence Olivier narrating the facts. Reading 'Stalingrad' later in life added immensely to that sense of foreboding; how humanity has plumbed the depths of chaos and disorder and continues to do so."
Chartered Institute of Building
Code of Practice for Project Management
McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial
"Jill and I were very lucky to find a second hand copy of this book going into battle with a well known, international aid agency in the late nineties over claims of sexual abuse in their Ethiopian programmes. "
"This wonderful biography - 'The True Story of an Italian's War in Abyssinia' - talked to me of all things romantic in an almost forgotten place and time."
Codebreakers; The Inside Story of Bletchley Park
"Panders to my love of the hidden meaning of things; life, love, the universe and everything in between and how human beings with perseverance can overcome."
Henry David Thoreau
"Food for thought indeed and an essay to be cherished when things looks dismal. Reading this, sitting down defiantly in the middle of a carpark once worked miracles!"
The Sign and the Seal
"The Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant: Generally bonkers but added real spice and intrigue to my first few years travelling across Ethiopia like a modern day Indiana Jones."