www.matthewdunaway.com · 205-705-3590
WHAT’S CHANGED? Exploring Stories to Lead a Fruitful Life
As a book lover, one of my greatest challenges is accepting the fact that I will never get to read all the books that have been written. I’ll never even be able to read all the “must-read” books that have been written. The best I can hope to do is find those books that I consider essential — the books that help build a foundation to live a fruitful, productive life. So that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do. I’m building a list I call “100 Fundamental Books.” These are books I should have read before or need to read multiple times — books that help you become a more well-rounded person. I have just started to compile this list, with only the top 10 books nailed down.
3. “The Greek Plays” by Mary Lefkowitz and James Romm 4. Plato’s “Republic” 5. Aristotle 6. Virgil’s “Aeneid” 7. “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri 8. “The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer” 9. “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes 10. “The Complete Works of Shakespeare” This isn’t a list of the “best” or “most important” books. This is my list of books that I believe speak to some core fundamentals about life. Someone else may have a completely different essential reading list. Take the Bible, for example. The Bible isn’t just another book; I believe it is the inspired word of God. Not everyone would include the Bible in this kind of list, but I have it as No. 1 because I read everything else through the prism of truth revealed in the Bible. These are only the first 10 books on my list, and I wasn’t surprised that they are all old, classic literature. I read newer works from great modern authors, but the more I read of the new stuff and the old stuff, the more it seems like the new stuff is just rehashing the old stuff. This might sound like a sign of doom or like there are no new ideas. But I choose to see it as evidence that there’s something about the human experience that’s so common, regardless of whether we’re living it today or 3,000 years ago. Technologies,
economies, and cultures may change, but the human experience is the same.
When I read these old stories that speak to such fundamentals, I’m reminded of my law practice. I’ve been a lawyer for 22 years. Over that time, the practice of law has changed dramatically. The technology we use, our culture, and the economy have changed; they’re not what they used to be. Yet, when I look back at what it means to truly be a lawyer — understanding your clients, listening, guiding them through the legal process — things really haven’t changed that much at all. To a certain extent, my list of 100 Fundamental Books is intrinsically tied to my law practice. The themes and messages of these books speak to the core of what it means to be a lawyer. When I’m speaking with a client, it’s not enough for me to understand how to navigate the legal waters; I need to also understand life. When we read books that address core fundamentals, from Homer to Shakespeare, it helps us become more well-rounded people. We broaden our thinking, begin to recognize trends, and understand other people better. As a lawyer, this helps me better understand my clients and offer them better advice going forward.
1. The Bible 2. Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”
When I read these old stories that speak to such fundamentals, I’m reminded of my law practice.
Call today – 205-705-3590 1. –Matt Dunaway
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