One of the titles in the Library’s new popular reading section that caught my eye is You’ve Got To Read This Book! By Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks. The book is a compilation of 55 vignettes describing how books have changed the lives of 55 notable people. Picking any chapter at random results in reading an account of an individual being uplifted and inspired due to the influence of reading a work of fiction or non-fiction. Each of the contributors is generous in describing their own introspection. Wally Amos, of Famous Amos cookies, and who also holds an honorary doctorate in education from Johnson and Wales University, tells how the book Love is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald Jampolsky, taught him that he is the only person responsible for how he feels and how he processes experiences, and that letting go of fear is just a decision. Lou Holtz, former head coach at Notre Dame, was inspired to list and become motivated to achieve all the things he wanted to accomplish in life after reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. This happened at a time when he was unemployed and feeling depressed about life’s prospects. Rafe Esquith, a fifth grade teacher in central Los Angeles, explains how reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee inspired him to begin teaching ethics and moral development in his classes. Craig Newmark, the founder of www.craigslist.org, found meaning for his own activities after reading The Cluetrain Manifesto, which was written by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. The ideas presented mirrored his own thoughts about the function of the Internet and inspired him to keep craigslist as a big network of people helping each other out.
How about you? Have you experienced a book that influenced your thinking or caused you to change directions in life? The JWU Library blog is open for comments and we would really like to know what books have been important enough to you that you would say: “You’ve got to read this book!”