Ten Books That Have Influenced Me

by Verinder Syal

Seemingly we have lost the art of having a meaningful debate in this country. In stead of a thoughtful response, we demonize those we disagree with. Even with close friends, a passionate debate where the two parties have differing points of view has become well nigh impossible.

There are many reasons for this but there are three that can break through this impasse. First is to listen to each other respectfully and completely. The second is to focus on facts, not just sheer emotions. This is especially hard for a nation of CNN Headline watchers who fancy they understand the world because they just heard it on the news. But facts are the key to true understanding. Finally, we must understand, what our own beliefs are, what our assumptions are and why we believe what we believe?

This month I lay out my beliefs – only three key ones – and the Ten books that have helped inform those beliefs. We do not have to agree but by understanding our assumptions, Voltaire remarked, half the arguments would disappear.

So what are your assumptions? What do you believe in? Why?

Download the Ten Books list (pdf)