Originally posted by abarnhar
What's the Aikido book that most influenced you or was the most help to your training?
Hmm. Aikido-wise ... it'd have to be the Shirata/Stevens book _Aikido: The Way of Harmony_. To be perfectly blunt, I tend to steer away from Stevens' work generally, but found this one a powerful and direct read with excellent photos and text.
EVERYBODY reads _Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere_, I think. And they ought to. It's a good book, despite the lapses in research and fact. However, given what the authors DID have access to, it was well done. And the art, of course, is priceless. Their _Secrets of the Samurai_ is similarly lacking in some areas, but is still a nice beginner-level overview of Japanese budo.
I truly and deeply enjoyed most of Gaku Homma's books, but found the last one (I think is was the last) _Foundations of Aikido_? Hard to follow and visually annoying.
The (fairly) recent translation of _Budo Training in Aikido_ was GREAT! Loved the illustrations and the doka! Of course, this was about Daito Ryu jujutsu and not aikido so some folks might hedge on that one a bit ...
I also highly recommend my dear friend Carol Shifflett's books _Aikido Exercises for Teaching and Training_ and _Ki in Aikido_. As a non-aiki-fruity type (Hi Jon!), I found her approach to Ki refreshing. And HEY! I'm in 'em!
One of my first and still most fave aikido books is Shioda's _Dynamic Aikido_.
Aside from strictly aikido books, I always recommend:
Kano's _Judo_ (which contains a LOT of aikido if you read it carefully)
Sato's translation of _Sword and the Mind_
Diane Skoss' _Koryu Bujutsu_ and _Sword and Spirit_
Karl Friday's _Legacies of the Sword_ (We're working on getting him here in Indy in late May for a seminar by the way!)
EJ Harrison's _Fighting Spirit of Japan_
And a whole slew of others. I've been promising to put my dojo reading list on the web for a while. Sigh. I guess I'll have to try to squeeze that in.