Friday, February 10, 2017

Books That Influence Life Are Invaluable

The New York Times recently ran a review of a book, Books for Living by Will Schwalbe.  It’s a book filled with 26 essays, each one about a book that changed his life.  Though there’s no doubt books impact and influence our lives we’d disagree as to which books made the biggest difference.  That’s the beauty of books.

The review said it best when it stated:

“Books, to Schwalbe, are our last great hope to keep us from spiraling into the abyss.  It’s an old-fashioned thesis – that this ancient medium can save civilization – but I happen to agree.  Books build compassion, they inspire reform.  They remain, Schwalbe writes, ‘one of the strongest bulwarks we have against tyranny.’  And man, do we need bulwarks right now.  Lots of bulwarks.”

I have not read the book but I like the idea behind it.  To have a book pay tribute to books is my kind of book.  We need more like it.  It’s the kind of book we each should write, paying homage to the words that have inspired and motivated us, enlightened and educated our souls, and that have allowed us to dream beyond our own fantasy capabilities.  Books can do so much and mean a lot to us.

I suspect many books, impacted us, but we didn’t realize it at the time.  We take in so much data, from all kinds of sources, but it seems like a Catch-22 to have a book alter our lives or our way of thinking, but to also be aware of it as it happens.  It could be years after reading a book that we come to fully understand its meaning and appreciate its message.

I try to gain something from every book that I read.  Even if it’s just a good line, a new vocabulary word, a colorful character, or an intriguing plot or factoid, I find value in the books that come into my life.

There are plenty of recommended reading lists out there but, few are based on the idea that you should read such books because they’ll truly transform your life.  That’s a heavy burden for a book and who’s to say which book will appeal to you in such a significant manner.  I felt impacted by 1984 by George Orwell, but maybe others reading it today won’t find it as important.

But the big idea that books shape lives is very important and relevant.  Books are not blogs or TV shows or podcasts.  They are significant and substantial – not too short, not too long.  They take us far and beyond what we’d otherwise see or feel.  When we read a book to escape, to learn or mere pleasure we end up gaining something far more valuable.  

Which books have influenced your life?

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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