Three books that influenced my life
I bite off way more than I can chew. You may remember last winter when I cleared hundreds of books from my office. The office is now a dream – I have space to create and to think. I love the space for my flip chart since that plus scented markers and yellow sticky notes are how I organize my thoughts.
The books are in the basement gathering dust; their time will come. Thinking about books, though, had me pondering which book had the biggest influence on me, and why. Could I pin an influence to a specific book?
So, that’s what I’ve tried to do. Here they are, in chronological order, actually. I hope that my sharing will help you touch base with what has influenced you in your life.
Half Magic by Edward Edgar
I start this list of books with the first to capture my imagination completely. Perhaps it was the notion of a young girl jousting in a suit of armor or the fickleness of magic that is only half-executed that kept me eagerly reading as a kid all summer, every summer. This book instilled a voracious reading habit that has never really left me. The wild romp of a great read; there is nothing like it.
The Road Less Traveled – M. Scott Peck
He starts by saying “Life is difficult” and then helps you transcend that noble truth. Once you realize life is difficult, then difficulties are normalized and life is no longer difficult. He left me with at least one profound truth about myself: that I can learn anything if I give myself enough time.
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey
I know, right? How obvious. It’s not like you might think. The first time I picked up this book, I was working in training and development and this was a must read. I read through about Chapter 3, but just couldn’t muster the interest to finish. Skimming had to suffice. It ended up set aside for other more current versions of hot leadership theory du jour.
Then two years later, my life was in turmoil. My 24-year marriage was abruptly over; I was in the depth of the change process. I picked up Seven Habits again, read it cover-to-cover in a week, then read it again slowly and did every single exercise. I have the Vision Statement I wrote in 1993 and it still stands true.
This book helped me clarify my life in a way nothing else had. But, most importantly, I learned that when the message of a book resonates with a person at the exact right time for that person, mountains could be moved. The right pairing is magical, the right timing is explosive.
I’m curious to hear what books have influenced you. Context was important in my experience, is that true for you? Please share in the comments below!