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Don Charisma @ 5readsblog

(Thanks to 5readblogs for giving me the encouragement and opportunity to write this)


Five reads blog asked me to write about five books that mean a lot to me. I like the idea of the five reads blog, so I agreed to take on the challenge!

My father has been a great influence in my life and recommended some books that have been very valuable to me.

I prefer film as a medium for learning and being told stories, as it’s something I can do passively. Film can be much more influential than written works and can reach a much wider audience. Just my preference, I know others love to read, neither is better, just different people.

I went through a period of absorbing many inspirational texts, from many different authors. Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, Eckhart Tolle, Steven Covey, Robert Kiyosaki, Napoleon Hill and many others have published incredible works. I especially like “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie, again a gift from my father.

Personally I feel that learning wisdom should be simple, and those who are teachers and leaders should look to constant simplification and refinement to present their ideas. For instance Aesop’s fables are great in the way that they convey wisdom in a very simple story. I am a fan of Paul McKenna the hypnotist and a great helper in the self-improvement arena. He also advocates making learning of wisdom as simple and effortless as possible.

I also like Dr Spencer Johnson who has written many simple but wise story books that are straight to the point such as “Who moved my cheese” or “The One Minute Manager”, this is how I like my books, straightforward, valuable, to the point. KISS – Keep it simple stupid.


I am the author of the Doncharisma blog at, an experiment I started back in June. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so much so that I am starting a new venture in web design and promotion in partnership with a close friend – my blog will play a key part.

Educationally I am a graduate of the computer sciences. I worked in this profession in London’s city for major financial institutions for over a decade.

Gradually dropping out of the rat race, my most recent achievement has been becoming a PADI Scuba Instructor in Thailand. I also ran a medium sized company in a service industry in London for a number of years.

A number of years ago I attended a Vipassana 10 day retreat, and have been a meditator ever since – It’s challenging but rewarding.

I have a keen interest in teaching and helping others, as others have done for me. Personally, I have had good and bad mentors, so I do my best to learn what works and what doesn’t, and how to be a positive influence on others. If I can do just a little bit so that others can find happiness and fulfillment in their lives, then this makes me happy.

It’s my hope that the books I’ve suggested will help others in the same way as they have done for me.

Website:  Doncharisma

The Reads:

  • The Message of a Master – John MacDonald

My father gave me a copy of this book to read. It’s a simple story of a man struggling in life, looking for a “solution” to his problems. The book follows his journey in finding out that his thoughts are the most powerful thing that he possesses, but that he must hone those thoughts in order to achieve the potential he so desperately wants.

I like the simplicity and directness of the book. It is slightly indirect in its approach, but the underlying meaning is worth reading the book for.

  •  The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman

Peaceful warrior was recommended to me by a lady who coached me in my life for three years. She herself an incredibly strong charismatic woman, is certainly entitled to rank as a peaceful warrior.

Dan Millman’s book is now also a film for those who like me prefer the medium. The protagonist is a “successful” gymnast who in following ordinary traditional thinking becomes more and more unhappy in his life. He meets a man who he calls “Socrates”, who changes him and his life, and points him in the “right” direction for leading a fulfilling and happy life.

I’ve said already I’m not much of a reader, but this and the other two Dan Millman Peaceful Warrior books, I couldn’t put down until I’d finished, and wanted to read again. “Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior” and “The Journeys of Socrates” are also highly recommended.

  • Life Is Beautiful (La vita è bella) – Roberto Begnigni

I’ve actually never read the book, I don’t read Italian. I enjoyed this film immensely dubbed in English. Guido the protagonist is the epitome of what a good man should be like, a good father, boyfriend and husband, who would always put his family first. He’s funny, kind and strong all in one package. He’s not an “alpha male”, but boy does he have much more character and good than any “alpha male” I ever met.

The story is hard not to be moved by and hard not to want to become more like Guido. He’s so shameless about getting what he wants, but does it in the most persistent and good mannered ways, who couldn’t like him!

  •  The Pursuit of Happiness – Chris Gardener

This is Chris Gardener’s autobiographical account of his rags-to-riches success in most obviously, the material world, but from following his journey it’s obvious that it’s as much about his own spiritual evolution. He is a great father to his son, and makes up for the “absence” of the boy’s mother like a true hero.

More than a great story about a success, Chris manages to describe the level of persistence and self-belief that is required to “succeed” in all areas of life. He so clearly demonstrates the good humour and imagination that is needed to overcome deeply challenging and sometimes downright hard times that life throws at us.

  • Aesop’s Fables – Aesop

Aesop is an ancient Greek story teller. His stories are small, compact and incredibly well thought out. They detail wisdom encapsulated perfectly in the concise and to the point. They describe paradoxes that we face, and give us more than a gentle hint hint towards which is often a better side to choose. Valuable lessons indeed for facing difficult decisions with paradoxical consequences.

For instance “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a well know Aesop’s fable. It beautifully describes the paradox of rushing though a task versus plodding and pacing oneself though it. Aesop quite blatantly illustrates that often slow determined persistence will win as opposed to rushing, overenthusiasm and burning oneself out.

Aesop’s fables are great for teachers, parents and anybody who’d like to improve their storytelling capabilities. Great examples of honed and simplified vessels for the communication of wisdom.

by Don Charisma, posted at 5readsblog



Don Charisma @ 5readsblog

33 thoughts on “Don Charisma @ 5readsblog

  1. Hi ! I thoroughly enjoyed the above summaries and comments on each. I’ve leaned toward some “dark” material in the last several months to better learn how to add depth to the antagonist of a novel in progress. This was a great reminder of the need to keep inspiration close by ! And, thanks for the visit to

  2. Thanks for your interest in “Tails from Paris”. We’re now following your blog.

    If you want to sharpen your international sense of humor, we do also have a French version called “Sous nos Couettes” :

    Thanks for sharing if you enjoy it too …

    Best from Paris, France

    Alix, Roxane & their bald, bold & funny Dad

    1. My pleasure and thankyou for following my blog also 🙂

      I’ve left you a comment direct on your blog, unfortunately my French is Un Peu, which isn’t en oeuf (my granddad’s little joke)

      Keep in touch

      Don Charisma

      1. He’s no longer with us, but yes a wise man, he loved French language and culture and was very amused by “en oeuf”, one of his catch phrases was “One egg is en oeuf” … cheers, Don charisma

  3. Cool post! I also really enjoyed the movie “Life Is Beautiful.” I also really like the 5 Reads concept — thanks for taking the time! Also, I wanted to thank you for your recent follow of my blog at Harmony Cocktails 🙂

    1. It’s a really nice movie and a life lesson of how men/fathers can be a massive power good for their loved ones … my pleasure and thanks for your kind words, I’ll leave you comment direct on your website … Cheers Don Charisma

  4. Great post. I’ve always enjoyed re-reading Aesop’s Fables. My brother was so impressed with Dale Carnegie’s book that he took the seminar. It helped him overcome a lot of his shyness. One of my favorite novels that I’ve re-read many times is Pearl Buck’s ‘The Good Earth’.

  5. 5Reads is such a good idea — if more of us did it, we would all discover interesting new books to read. I haven’t read any of the ones you mentioned, except Aesop, so now those are on my radar. Thanks!

    1. Hey nick1b, thanks:) I’ve edited your comment and my post, as wasn’t what I wanted to say, my mistake, thanks for highlighting this for me.

      I’ve always been humble enough to think that I could learn from leaders and people at the top of their field. It’s helped me to improve the way I do things and learn some of the skills to be a better leader and mentor for others.


      Don Charisma

      1. If you’d like to continue to help, feel free to refer anyone you think would like to participate. I’m loving where it’s going, and hope I can keep it going. Thanks again. Cheers!

  6. Reblogged this on Magpie's Paper Tales and commented:
    Five uplifting book recommendations from Don Charisma…(1) The Message of a Master (John MacDonald); (2) The Way of the Peaceful Warrior (Dan Millman); (3) Life is Beautiful (Roberto Begnini); (4) The Pursuit of Happiness (Chris Gardner); and (5) Aesop’s Fables (Aesop)…

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