I am a voracious reader. Yes, I said voracious. I have an unquenchable appetite for the written word and am usually reading 3 – 5 books at a time. Some of them are business related, some insightful, some great literature and some of them are just good thought-wandering pulp fiction. I wish I could describe how I choose a book – what it is about the title, the cover, the story – that draws me to them, but it is just a feeling, just an unspoken pull that says “you need to open these pages and see what they have to share with you…”
Books have always been a constant friend and the ultimate escape. The ones that took me from boardroom lessons to foreign shores and everywhere in between. Books are a part of what made me who I am. Lessons learned and stories absorbed from their pages helped mold not only my personality but my curiosity about the world. Then there are the books that change your life…
There have been a lot of books that had a profound effect on me, many of them, but there have been three, and one very new addition, that struck such a cord in me that they changed the course of my life.
The Bible — I don’t care what religion you are, or are not, everyone should read the Bible cover to cover at least once. Not only is the basis of one of the largest religions in the world, but it is full of lilting prose, majestic stories, unforgettable characters and ethical lessons of how to treat your fellow man that should be learned by everyone. Whether you choose to accept it as the Word of God or not, you will not have a true understanding of the world without reading it at least once. I would say this also goes for the rest of holy books of the world’s major religions. I have the Torah and the Koran and the words of Buddha scheduled as part of my “required” reading for this year.
Radical Careering by Sally Hogshead – A very dear friend gave me this book 9 years ago and it literally changed the course of my life. The words in this book sung to the entrepreneurial spirit in me and prompted me to take the leap from 25+ year, very stable, very successful career to working for myself. The simple to follow insights led me to questions about what I really wanted from the activities that were going to fund my life. It was the both the scariest and best move I ever made. It would not have happened had I not read this book.
Amazing Things Will Happen by C.C. Chapman – We all have moments when we are unsure, when we are scared, when we are convinced that nothing is going to work out. I was at that point when C.C. published this book. I will be honest and admit that I originally ordered the book and planned to read it because I respect and admire C.C. and consider him a friend. Then I opened the book and began to read… All of a sudden all of the uncertainty that had been swirling in my head and heart began to settle. C.C.’s words reminded me that what I was feeling was natural and that if I just took the time to look at them and then work through it, that amazing things would happen. Not only was it an inspirational book, it was actionable. It gave me step by step what I need to figure out how to keep amazing things happening my life and to quiet the voices that tell me that they can’t happen.
All three of these books are well-worn. I am on my 5th new Bible. I have actually gone through 2 copies of Amazing Things Will Happen and am on my 6th copy of Radical Careering. I wore out the previous copies. I have given these books as gifts more times then I can count.
A new book has recently been added to this list – Seth Godin’s What To Do When Its Your Turn.
The visual style of the book is stunning and the words profound. Reading it I realized how often I still “wait” to take my turn. How often I still wait for permission. No more! Another twist in the path of life, but one that heads to a better destination.
This is by far, not an exhaustive list of the books that have had an impact on me. It is a list of the ones that have had a more then profound impact on the direction of my life.
So what are YOUR life changing books?