5 Books That Inspired "Amsterdam Exposed"


Hi everyone! My name is David Wienir and I am the author of the new provocative memoir “Amsterdam Exposed: An American’s Journey Into The Red Light District.” I began writing this book in 1999, and am beyond excited to finally share it with the world. It was a long journey, and here are five books that influenced me along the way. Four of them I read as the events of my book took place. The fifth inspired me to finish it.

1. A Widow for One Year (John Irving, 1998). Like Amsterdam Exposed, except fictional, it’s an Amsterdam love story. It was published just a year before the events of my book took place, and certainly lingered in my mind as I walked the streets. I have read almost all of Irving’s works. This is certainly one of the most haunting, multilayered, and profound. At times, I felt as if John was walking with me as the events of my book unfolded.

2. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho, 1988): Short, sweet and to the point, this masterpiece tells the story of a young shepherd searching for treasure, and what he ultimately finds along the way. Similar to Amsterdam Exposed, it’s a coming of age story that impresses upon us the importance of listening to your heart, following your dreams, and maybe most importantly, recognizing that life is about the journey.

3. The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle, 1997): Despite studying Eastern religion at Columbia University, it wasn’t until I read this book that everything sunk in. During my time in Amsterdam, I was living in the now. I was present. I was alive, and the story that resulted was made possible because of it. The teachings I learned from this well-traveled book, and the stillness that resulted, echoes through my work.

4. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden, 1997): Surprisingly, given that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, there have been a dearth of books written about it that strike a chord. For me, this book did just that. Romantic, poignant, and breathtaking, the fictional love story in this book fueled the real love story in mine.

5. Becoming a Son (David Labrava, 2015): David Labrava is a member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and best know for playing Happy in the FX series Sons of Anarchy. He is also a close friend. When Sons of Anarchy ended, I inspired him to write a book about his life leading up to being cast in the popular show. Ironically, his finishing his book inspired me to finish mine. Becoming a Son is a brutally honest redemption story, which leaves nothing on the table. It’s about the importance of determination, the struggle, and never giving up. This book, and my friendship with the author, helped provide me with the courage and inspiration I needed to finish Amsterdam Exposed. I am forever grateful.

  • A Widow for One Year

  • The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream

  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

  • Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel

  • Becoming A Son