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liminal's avatar

Have you had a response to a book that poignantly changed your life?

Asked by liminal (7714 points ) March 9th, 2010

I am not talking about being stirred into reflection, joy, repulsion, anger, entertainment, insight, etc…

I am asking if you have ever read a book (or anything else) that caused a stirring in you so profound that you experienced change?

There have been some questions on fluther these past couple weeks that have been reminding me of my experience with C.S. Lewis’s work Till We Have Faces a retelling of the myth of cupid and Psyche.

My response to this book forever changed my attunement to self-awareness and passion.

This is the quote going through my head lately:
“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.” Spoken by the C.S. Lewis character Psyche

Is there a book or writing that has roused you towards change? Do you have a quote to share?

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16 Answers

PacificToast's avatar

The Bible. “They will come against you but will not overcome you for I am with you and will rescue you declares the LORD” Jeremiah 1:19

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

At the lowest point of my life, I discovered the program and the book by the same name: Alcoholics Anonymous.

Until that time, I thought I was suffering alone and that there was no way out, but there was a sentence in the book which changed my life. It simply says, “There is a solution.”

I can only say now that this solution has worked for me for 10 years, and I am not the same person I was because of it.

jealoustome's avatar

When I was twenty years old, a woman gave me The Alchemist to read. It changed the way I looked at the world. Up until that point, growing up in a crazy, religious, abusive household, I thought the world was against me and that I would always have to be pushing and fighting towards the things that I wanted. When I read this quote, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” it changed the way I saw the world around me. I loved the idea that the world was for me, not against me.

Since reading that book, I’ve read many more that were more in-depth works of philosophy, but that simple, little book still sticks with me.

Mariah's avatar

I never fully appreciated being female until I read The Secret Life of Bees.

drClaw's avatar

Harry Potter – I started wearing my robe everywhere I go and have never looked back (I also mutilated my forehead)

OneMoreMinute's avatar

The Celestine Prophesy
I read it when it first came out before no one knew about it. I would teach myself to do the insights one at a time. I sent love to a potted tulips plant and it shot up several inches and bloomed over night. I first saw the energy between my fingertips. I noticed how people get energy passively or aggressively.

prolificus's avatar

“Native Son” by Richard Wright. It is the first book I honestly read from cover to cover in high school (11th grade). Up until this point, I always wormed my way out of reading because I have a learning disability. I don’t have any quotes, but I will say it had a profound life-changing affect on me. I went from thinking I was dumb and stupid to thinking the world was opened to me because I finished a book. This book gave eyes to my imagination because I was able to “see” the events take place as I read them. It was the first time I experienced “feeling” a book, and it gave me the ability to feel future readings.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@prolificus : Nicely put. And Native Son is indeed a great book.

absalom's avatar

Siddhartha changed my “spiritual beliefs”.

Gravity’s Rainbow made me cry.

Infinite Jest made me care about reading and writing.

They are the only books I’ve found that can do those things.

lilikoi's avatar

@prolificus I also read that book in high school, and enjoyed it immensely. I think it had some kind of profound effect on me, which my teacher could also see, but I’m not sure what it was exactly.

cbloom8's avatar

Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead not so much changed my life but reaffirmed, added on and organized my beliefs.

liminal's avatar

I am acquiring quite a reading list!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@absalom : Gravity’s Rainbow goes with me wherever I go. Love that book.

snowberry's avatar

It’s an out of print book, In the Days of Poor Richard, by Conrad Richter (you’d have to buy it from a used book seller). It has documented answers to prayer, documented miracles. It’s based on newspaper accounts, diaries, and letters of people who lived during the American Revolution. It’s a true story, and it changed how I saw myself. Even though I may appear to be insignificant, I can have a profound influence on society.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The list is long, but includes: Ideas Have Consequences, Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, the Bible, Nuerolinquistic Programming, Born to Win, The Conscious Universe, and definitely not least… The Web of Life.

OperativeQ's avatar

On The Road changed my way of thinking quite a bit.

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