8 Influential Books That Changed My Life

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influential books

Because I didn’t have a lot of role models or experiences, thought-provoking books with meaning were a gateway for me to understand the world. These are the influential books that taught me something that matters:

Les Miserables (Victor Hugo) — Everyone suffers and connects deeply. Compassion is necessary for intra- and interpersonal peace.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) — Being the single voice of truth takes enormous courage but is worth fighting for. Prejudices can be unfounded and dangerous.

The Wounded Healer (Henri Nouwen) — Part of our responsibility as human beings (but especially as Christian ministers) is to convince others we will wait for them through difficulty. The reassurance someone gives a da-n is what enables people to keep going.

Woman on the Edge of Time (Marge Piercy) — We build society and connection by choice. We can challenge virtually every convention. Doing so can sometimes be the most moral option.

The Diary of a Young Girl (Anne Frank) — Maturity has nothing to do with age. Your circumstances don’t have to kill hope or convince you to stop dreaming. Love can bud even in the isolation of an attic and contradict every cruelty of war.

Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes) — Fighting for your beliefs can seem crazy to other people, but that doesn’t mean the fight isn’t worthwhile. We must, however, learn to discern when there’s a foe in front of us and when it’s all in our heads. But love and purpose provide formidable energy that can transform into laudable action. The fight is easier when someone else is willing to share your journey.

Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes) — The greatest lack of intelligence is the inability to treat someone like a human being.

The Metamorphosis (Franz Kafka) — Sometimes, when we change, other people can be heartless and lead us into isolation. The acceptance or rejection of who we become can mean survival or death. So, we must keep including others in the world even when they transition to a way of life we didn’t expect.