Books can change lives. The transformational power of literature has helped start businesses, reveal career paths, build companies, explore the unknown, rediscover purpose, broaden minds, and even save lives. Because I believe so strongly in the importance of books, I’ll be talking to people from all walks of life to learn more about “The Book That Changed My Life.” If you have a book that illuminated your life, I’d like to hear about it.
For this first column, I recently spoke with business and health professionals, artists and students among my family and friends about the books that changed their lives. The answers were revealing.
READER: Ben Werden, Ph.D. candidate in environmental engineering
BOOK: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkein
Werden read this 1209-page book every summer for 14 years. “I loved how the characters resonated differently each time I read it,” he said. Tolkein’s theme of industry versus nature led him to appreciate nature as part of his life’s work.
READER: Jill Moss, sculptor and painter
BOOK: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
“Reading Anna Karenina introduced me to the beauty of language and the imagery of literature” said Moss. She agrees with those who say that Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written–this classic story of love, torment and betrayal depicts timeless themes. “Anna Karenina inspired me to read Dostoyevsky, Sartre, Kafka and others. The historic references led me down a path to further intellectual curiosity,” she says.
READER: Dr. Jeff Werden, psychoanalyst
BOOK: The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
“I first read this series when I was nine years old and I loved them–because they were adventure and detective stories where good always triumphed over evil and hard work and pluck paid off,” Werden says. “The books inspired my love of reading and helped me focus my insatiable curiosity and sense of inquiry, which I now use to interpret the mysteries of the mind.”
READER: William Getz, investment banker
BOOK: Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough
and John Helyar
Getz chose this New York Times best seller that was said to be one of the best business narratives ever written. This scorching tale written by two journalists with contrasting styles piqued his interest in investment banking, which ultimately became his career path. “After I read Barbarians at the Gate I decided to go to University of Chicago School of Business for my graduate degree,” he says.
READER: Alan Moss, recent Brooklyn College graduate
BOOKS: The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
“It may sound like a cliché, but I received the Harry Potter books when I was 12 and they’re what made me love reading,” says Moss.
Do you have a book that changed your life? I want to hear about it for a future column! Email your name, book, and the reason this book made a difference to firstname.lastname@example.org.