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Old 07-19-2016, 01:05 PM   #1
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Books about life

I am an aspiring director and I'm looking for books that can expand my knowledge about life and human psychology.

Anything ranging from Socrates to Dale Carnegie will do.

I'm not asking for advice on books about filmmaking itself. The best director's always seem to have a fundamental knowledge of human psychology, history, art etc. so I bet there are some must-read books in that sense.

Thanks in advance
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:38 PM   #2
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A couple of my favorites are How to Win Friends and Influence People (which I gather you knew already, since you mention Carnegie), The Art of War by Sun Tzu, and The Prince by Machiavelli.The latter two are obviously much older texts but just as relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago.
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:08 PM   #3
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You can also attend forums, seminars, etc., about psychology and the like. You could even participate in real life! I think that I've learned more about people listening to conversations while pretending to read a book in train stations, diners, and other public places. Of course, it helps that I'm wearing headphones because I'm really recording ambient BGs and have a mic or two or three planted about……..
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:25 PM   #4
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One of the best questions ever !!

It is true, this kind of exposure will greatly expand your periphery of human behaviour, essential for any storyteller (directors are storytellers).

The classics are always a good bet, but also look for some of the road-less-traveled classic works. I also HIGHLY suggest reading works from the 20s and 30s, and on up to the 50s when American English was, in my opinion, its most beautiful and eloquent (British English' heyday was - again in my opinion - in the late 1800s, with the likes of William Morris, George MacDonald and Lewis Carroll). If you want to build your vocabulary, and cadence in structure (also essential for effective storytelling) then reading older books is pure gold. Take it all the way back to the 1600s if you dare!

One of my faves is Abraham Cowley, 1618 - 1667. You can find his books on Ebay, and not really all that expensive if you want to read them in the then style of English (note the S and 'd instead of ed), among numerous other differences.

Read this on 'Solitude'...


You can also watch clips of old TV shows from the 50s to hear the difference in English now, and English then. Talking about dumbing it down. Business English really did some damage. And now texting is driving in the coffin nails.

First short list ...

Read 'In Praise of idleness', by Bertand Russell. 1932

Read 'Jurgen' by James Branch Cabell. 1919
This book was dragged through the US courts for Obsenity (even the printing plates were siezed), and went on to win an important case for freeedom of press and speech. Cabell is an absolute master of prose and observaionist of human behavior. The likes of Tolkien were all influenced by his work.

Read 'Lysistrata', by Aristophanes, 411 BC

Be sure to read up on what Lysistrata is REALLY about.

Read Jack Kerouac.

Read 'The Art of War'.

Read about Wabi Sabi

Read Sappho poems.

Read Haiku

Read 'The Social Animal, Elliot Aronson



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Old 09-04-2016, 06:03 PM   #5
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The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Best book I've found for financing movies
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:16 PM   #6
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A great starting place for philosophy is Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. It is a novel about a young girl being introduced to this history of western philosophy, and gives you a good summary of human thought for the past couple thousand years. It's wonderful, deep and engaging and gives you a lot of starting places for other things you might be interested in.
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:17 PM   #7
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Psychology and Your Life, Everything you need to know is in that book.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:04 PM   #8
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Just kidding.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:16 PM   #9
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That works too.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:50 AM   #10
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Great response since I last checked. Thanks. I'll definitely try some of your recommendations.
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