" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

January 15, 2018

The Last Book I Read Changed My Life and So Has Every Other Book I Have Read

Last year at the Byron Writers Festival I attended a talk called 'This Book Changed My Life' which you can listen to at this link -
This Book Changed My Life
"Barry Jones, Tracey Spicer and Susan Wyndham wax lyrical on the books that changed their lives with Adam Suckling."
Susan Wyndham, Tracey Spicer,
Barry Jones and Adam Suckling
It was Barry Jones who attracted me to this talk, as I had two of his books that have already changed my life and I'm yet to read them ironically enough.
I first met Barry Jones and bought his 'The Shock of Recognition' at the Brisbane Writers Festival in 2016, which I wrote about in the post linked below -
Nick's Cave, Accidental Initiations, Walking the Skeleton Tree of Eight and the Shock of Recognition?
Barry Jones at the Brisbane Writers
September 9th, 2016
I bought Barry's other book 'A Thinking Reed' at the Byron Writers Festival in 2017 the day I saw/heard the talk 'This Book Changed My Life'.
I had actually started the day off with another talk Barry was involved with called 'Music Memoir', which I'll have some posts coming up about soon as well.
Barry Jones at the 'Music Memoir' talk in 2017
'This Book Changed My Life' made me think of all of the books that had changed my life and I had to admit to myself that they all did, no matter how bad some of the books I have read were.
And when Adam was asking the panel about the first book that changed their life I couldn't help thinking back to 'The Third Eye' by Lobsang Rampa, which I have written about before on this blog -
The Third Eye?
I loved this book, because it resonated with me on some spiritual level, so I decide to buy more of Losang's books
I soon found out the guy was a big fake,
But I still found the basic truths of Tibetan Buddhism fascinating. 
When I found out the truth behind Rampa's life it set the tone for every other book I would read from that point on in my life, including such books as The Bible.
Rampa's writings taught me to question everything I was to read from then on.
And Ram Dass's book 'Be Here Now' is a book I hate, as much as I love, and I have bought it a few times in my life now, so there is probably a message staring me right in the face there, I think;-) 
The last book that I finished reading recently I bought at the Byron Writers Festival in 2016 after a talk that I saw the author take part in called 'Ice Nation: Australia in Crisis'.
'Ice Nation: Australia in Crisis' talk 2016 BWF
I didn't think a book about methamphetamine use and addiction would make much of an impact on my life, as I don't know anyone who uses it (or if they do, I don't know about it) and I certainly wouldn't touch the illegal form that the drug comes in myself.
I bought the book after the 2016 BWF talk, because I thought like Matt says that people need to be informed about this growing national crisis.
I didn't actually read the book until a few weeks ago, as I noticed the ice crisis was getting a fair bit of press lately.
After reading Matt's book I got the impression that Matt plays down the ice crisis as much as the media play it up.
To me the truth about the ice crisis was somewhere in-between Matt's and the national media's view of it.
Matt claims in the book that not all ice users develop psychosis from the drug and that it is only about one in every four who do.
Well, to me those odds are not good, as they are the same odds of dying climbing to the top of K2, as was mentioned in this recent post of mine -
Aleister Crowley, K2 and Why K2?
And if I don't think climbing K2 is a good idea with those odds I certainly don't like the odds of someone not becoming psychotic on ice use.
Meth users top 30pc spike in 'toxic blend' of mental illness and drug use
"Health services are not equipped to treat the "toxic blend" of mental illness and substance abuse, experts say, with a new report finding one in four users of illicit drugs have a mental illness.
That figure is up nearly 30 per cent in three years, and compares to about one in six in the broader population who have a mental illness, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's 2016 national survey."
But one thing Matt's book got me to do that I thought I never would do is to watch the whole series of the hit TV show 'Breaking Bad'.
Everybody would tell me how great this show was when it was on TV, including my own sons who were watching it every week, but I despised a TV show that seemed to glamorize the making and selling of this drug, so I refused point blank to watch it when it was on TV.
Ironically what led me to watching it was Matt's stating in the book that the TV show had no influence on the drug's popularity in Australia, because of statistical evidence to the contrary.
And he says in the book that he has never sat down and watched the show ... so I did
And apart from the main subject material of the TV show, it really was one of the best TV series I have ever watched.
That said though, I call hum-bug on Matt's theory that the show has had no influence on the uptake of the drug's use in Australia.
And Matt if you ever read this post and you still haven't watched 'Breaking Bad', then you should, trust me.
And Matt is right when he says ice isn't as bad as the alcohol problem in Australia, but the trouble is people are using both and then driving on our roads and causing the deaths of innocent lives, just like the recent road tragedies highlighted in the news over Christmas and the New Year.
Ice addiction 'pales into insignificance' compared to harms linked to alcohol abuse, AMA says
Police arrest men and seize 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine at Geraldton
And it's a problem for Australia that doesn't seem to be going away soon.
And while I did take the piss out of ice addiction in this post about Margot Robbie's new movie -
Margot Robbie's Real Life ICE Battle?!
it is a growing problem in Australia and one that more people need to inform themselves of and books like Matt's can be real life changing in that regard.
The current book that I'm reading and a book I thought that I never would read having not liked the movie (twice) is 'Eat Pray, Love'.
But you will have to wait for some future posts to read how that book is changing my life.
The truth is that every book you read changes your life to some minor or major degree and some books more than others.
But writers festivals and talks are guaranteed to change your life in big ways, I think.
On the last day of the writers festival two ibis birds flew in over the wooden festival sign and I snapped the above photo having a chuckle to myself because Thoth is the ibis headed Egyptian god and is the god of writing, among other things.
"Thoth played many vital and prominent roles in Egyptian mythology, such as maintaining the universe, and being one of the two deities (the other being Ma'at) who stood on either side of Ra's boat.
In the later history of ancient Egypt, Thoth became heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead."


  1. People who say things like "all the books I've read changed my life, if only a little", is only because they never read a book that *really* changed their life. By *really* changing your life I mean not just "there were some interesting ideas in there" but "I've made important life decisions because of what I read there that I wouldn't have done otherwise".

    I can think of four books I've read that changed my life. (1) "Computers and cybernetic society" (2) "Chaos" (3) "The diaries of Anais Nin" (several volumes, but they all go together) (4) "Holy Blood, Holy Grail".

    I'm sure lots of people have read those same books and found them interesting, but they didn't change their lives. It's partly because the ideas in the books were completely new to me at the time, which wouldn't be to other people. But what changed my life wasn't the ideas, but rather, seeing that there were things I could do in my life that related directly to those ideas, and that very much depends on what sort of life you're leading. And also, that I was willing to pursue a particular course of action just because of something I read in a book. Many people simply wouldn't go ahead with many things unless they personally knew somebody else that had gone in that direction before.

  2. It's not only books that change lives either.
    I watched the movie 'What the Health' on Netflix a few months back and even though I'm not a Vegan I have been eating a mainly Vegan diet for the last few months and if that's not life changing I don't know what is, apart from being in a car crash or getting cancer.
    I read 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' when it came out and it was an interesting read, but I was already into that kind of stuff anyway, so it wasn't that big of an eye opener to me.
    I'm sure that there are books that changed my life that I don't even remember reading right now.
    Barry Jones was big on 'War and Peace' and I borrowed it from the local library for a few weeks when I was a teenager and read it, just to say I had read 'War and Peace' and all I can say about it is "yawn" and "boring".
    I got nothing out of reading it and today I can't even remember what it was all about and there is no way I'm going to read it again.
    I read The Bible from cover to cover around the same time and I will never do that again either.
    That was a life changer though, because then I understood why the Church never wanted it translated from Latin into other common live languages.