Books that Influence

In The Book that Changed My Life, 71 different authors were asked what one book they could attribute to influencing them the most.

It was interesting to note the authors variety of what motivated them. One author cited The Engine that Could. It was the benchmark of all books that changed his life. Another said the Sears Catalogue for it gave a vision of flawless perfection, teaching the difference between a gas-powered and an electric-powered arc welder. Opening a new world of what could be.

The books were not a certain genre or topic. They touched the reader where they were and brought them to another world, a world of problems that were solved, dreams that were met, differences that were rectified. The book reached the reader where he was and brought him to a better place.

The thought struck me: of all the many works that I have read, which ONE changed my life? It was worth considering. As authors we desire our books to make a difference in the lives of others. We wish for change, for hope renewed, for viewpoints expanded, for life strengthened. How is that achieved through the medium of words?

When I asked my family the same question, several immediately responded. (I had put a qualifier on our selection that the Bible was above all others and not included in the choices.) "Chicken books," said one, for that is his motivation and goal. Another said, The Family Cow; his influence reflecting his desire for optimum production of his goals and jobs. Another noted Doing Hard Things which challenges you to extend beyond yourself to do what can be done. Mere Christianity enabled thinking to be challenged, sharpened and focused to be able to define beliefs and world-views.

My book of influence would have to be Bob Benson's Laughter in the Walls.A book of poetry placed in my hands during a time of life when I needed to find answers. His poems spoke of deep issues. He provided me with a medium in which I could express myself and find answers.

Books that influence. Sometimes it is just having the right book at the right time to fulfill the need at the moment. Once fulfilled, we are able to move on to another challenge because we can find hope in the past solutions.

But other books influence for life. They change the readers' direction, opening opportunities that were not there before. Inspiring dreams that had not even been considered.

Which book would you say influenced you the most?

Edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen. The Book That Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books that Matter Most to Them. Gotham Books, 2006

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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