The following works (in order of most to least relevant to me) serve as a prologue for my experiences and are valuable in that they provide context and meaning to daily life, in order of most to least relevant to me. 

The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown (RB++) is a riveting story that accurately portrays the grit, resilience and hard work that is necessary to be a successful rower. This book puts in words the raw emotions I feel while on the water. Reading this makes me feel powerful and reminds me of my love for the sport.
Working by Studs Terkel (RB++) was enjoyable because it showed me different perspectives, jobs and careers. It helped me consider different attitudes about work. While reading The Boys In The Boat, I realized I wanted to be involved in rowing, which I am very passionate about. Now I coach and I feel lucky to be doing something I love so much when so many people from Working are disillusioned about life and work.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Mary Wollstonecraft (SB+) "We have to go back to first principles in search of the simplest truths" This simple line tells helps me to break down prejudice of all kinds. It keeps my mind open. This book surprised me because it was written so early, and now I know that the fight for equal rights and treatment of women has been much longer than I thought.
The Histories by Herodotus (FB+) was wonderful in it's detailed depictions of different cultures. Wollstonecraft's quote is also relevant here and it was really entertaining to read about it in context of culture. The attached song sings about travelling the world and doing every day things at magnificent places such as making a toast at Cafe Pushkin or looking up in the Sistine Chapel.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx (HB-) was uninteresting to me once I heard that Marx had never worked. Before that, I wanted to know about the theory to form my own opinion about the ideology of communism. Because of Marx's lack of experience in working, the theory became unappealing.
On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche (SB+) also reexamines the most basic principles in order to find truth. Nietzsche rebuilds the concept of "right" and "wrong" in a way that made me eager to rethink my beliefs.
The Nature of Things Richard Jenkyns (SB--) was beautiful and poetic but the scientist in me did not enjoy reading it since I know modern day science, the way this was written was a bit heady and wrong. Because of this, it mostly seemed irrelevant to me.
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