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.

Tom Butler-Bowden

50 Prosperity Classics

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Self Help

 

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.

 
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Hanna-Barbera Productions

The Banana Splits Show

The Banana Splits Show Children's TV series 1970s

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

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Business Management

 

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'.


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Richard Attenborough

Gandhi

Image of Ben Kingsley as Ghandi on the video of the film

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

Steven Spielberg

Indiana Jones & The Raiders of the Lost

Indiana Jones film advert

High Adventure - Film Series

 

The Indiana Jones series of feature films could not have been brought out at a worst time; encouraging my best mate Tom and I to behave so recklessly and with total disregard for our own safety... but we were young and invincible.

 
"He chose... poorly!"

David Carlin

The Abyssinian Contortionist

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Biography

 

Parallel Lives; sometimes it can take many, many years to understand the true effect of our own actions

 
Good Reads

Bishop Robert Barron

Catholicism Series

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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.

 
The Trailer

Lindsay Clarke

Parsival and the Stone From Heaven

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Arthurian Romance

 

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.


Good Reads

Bryan Singer

Bohemian Rhapsody

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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

John Pickford

The Worth of Water

oznor

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

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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!

John Wyndham

Day of the Triffids

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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."


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Franco Zeffirelli

Jesus of Nazareth

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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.

C.S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters book by C.S. Lewis

Christian Religious

 

"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."



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John Wyndham

Only Fools and Horses

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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?

Leo Tolstoy

The Kreutzer Sonata

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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

E.F. Schumacher

Small is Beautiful

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Economics

 

"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!

Russell Mulcahy

Highlander (1986)

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Fantasy/Adventure Film

 

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!

Robert Fisk

The Great War on Civilisation

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

 

"To"

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John Boorman

Excalibur (1981)

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Arthurian Legend

 

Anything to do with Arthurian Legend gripped me from an early age and this film was a massive favourite.


Chivalry at its Best

John Gribbin

In Search of Schrödinger's Cat

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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

Wu Cheng'en

Monkey - Journey to the West

Perfect Negotiation

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!

 
Friday Afternoon Entertainment

Jan Davis & Robert Lambert

Engineering in Emergencies

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International Development

 

"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."



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Monty Python

The Meaning of Life

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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?

Gavin Kennedy

Perfect Negotiation

Perfect Negotiation

Self Help/Business

 

"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."



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Shakespeare

Henry V

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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 

Gabriel García Márquez

One Hundred Years of Solitude

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Category

 

"Description"

 
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Anthony Beevor

Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942–1943

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

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."

 
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Chartered Institute of Building

Code of Practice for Project Management

The Fourth Edition of the Chartered Institute of Building Code of Practice for Project Management for Construction and Development

Construction Management

 

"I talk elsewhere about balancing the key constraints of Time, Cost and Quality as espoused throughout this manual. But more than that, I just love the pure, unadulterated logic that flowed from its pages into everyday life and work."

 
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John Vidal

McLibel: Burger Culture on Trial

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Legal

 

"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. "


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Bruce Chatwin

Songlines

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Travel/Anthropology

 

"D"


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Sebastian O'Kelly

Amedeo

Favourite Films, TV Series & Books

Adventure

 

"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."


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F.H. Hinsley

Codebreakers; The Inside Story of Bletchley Park

Code Breakers the inside story of bletchley park book by F.H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp

Wartime History

 

"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."


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Graham Hancock

The Lords of Poverty

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

International Development

 

"Exposed!"


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Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Political Thought

 

"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!"


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Piers Brendon

The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

20th Century History

 

"Description of contents to be added."


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Graham Hancock

The Sign and the Seal

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Travelogue/Adventure

 

"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."


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Hans Christian Andersen

The Tinderbox

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Fairy Tale

 

"Description of contents to be added."


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Nigel Barley

The Innocent Anthropologist

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Travelogue and Adventure

 

"Chickens cooked like airfix models!"


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Gabriel García Márquez

Love in the Time of Cholera

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Classification

 

"Description of contents to be added."


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Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Classfication

 

"Description of contents to be added"


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Sebastian Faulks

Birdsong

"In the beginning when God Created the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep..."

Classification

 

"Description of contents to be added"


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