Three books that changed my life

Bill Brenner had a post back in February that talked about a series Jennifer Minella was doing that asked security professionals to name three books that changed their life. Since then security pros like Dave Kennedy (I read reworked from his list, which was pretty good) and Jack Daniel, among others, have contributed to the series. It's a wonderful series that gives a small peak into the mind of each person that has contributed. I don't expect to be asked to contribute my short list of books anytime soon so I've decided to go ahead and post my list here.

1. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

This story of King Arthur is unlike anything you've ever read. It's a well researched, gritty, and realistic take on a story that often times gets overly romanticized. The book follows the story of Derfel, one of Arthur's warriors (yes, warrior not knight) who interacts with all the characters in the original story: King Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, and many others you've heard of and not heard of. It's a fantastic story and the best part is, it's only the first of three books in The Warlord Chronicles. The book changed my perception of the world and showed me that stories can be overly romanticized and that there is probably more to the story.

2. Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose

Growing up I watched WWII movies The Longest Day and A bridge too far quite a few times, so naturally when I discovered Stephen E. Ambrose I became hooked. I've read just about every WWII book Ambrose wrote. Band of Brothers was the book that stuck with me the most and at one point I even explored the possibility of joining one of the Army's airborne units. The movies are just as good as the book, but the book has so much more than what could be shown in the 10-hour HBO series. Richard Winters, a main character, of the book is someone I've come to draw inspiration from in both my work ethic and effort to become a good leader.

3. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

This book changed my life completely. It taught me to recognize fear and embrace it. I was reading this book at the recommendation of a program that was teaching me how to talk to women. I got much more out of the book than just talking to women, though. I learned how to look at opportunities that made me nervous or fearful and embrace them, because it was an opportunity to grow as a person. Fear is something that we all deal with daily. How we handle and respond to it not only defines us as a person, but it can also shape us into a better person.