I will officially cop to being in two book groups.
Okay, three, if you count the online professional coaches group I just signed on for. This means I read a lot of books. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love how reading affected me. I’m a diehard turn the pages made out of paper kind of girl, no electronic devices for me.
I’ve been on the planet long enough to have grown children, so there are many, many, books that have profoundly influenced me, even changed my life.
So, when I got an invitation to a networking event that asked me to, “Come prepared with the names of 4 books that changed your life,” I was intrigued.
I’m not exactly sure why I thought it would be easy to come up with a list of four, but I quickly recognized that this question had possible benefits beyond the books on the list. An instant icebreaker, this simple question is a boon for those of you who love to read (or merely like it) and find networking just a tad more pleasant than root canal.
Please forgive the following generalization if it doesn’t apply to you, but based on my personal and professional experiences, introverts tend to steer clear of networking and head straight for a book (e or otherwise). November is National Career Development month, so why not try something new?
Image/Gif by Grace Easton
If this is you, you might consider attending an event knowing that if you ask a fellow attendee to tell you about a life changing book they've read, you will start a genuine conversation. What have you read lately that you found fascinating? or something else along those lines will do. A non-smarmy approach to opening a conversation is useful to anyone, introvert or not. And, follow up questions will flow easily. Even responses like, I hate to read or I can hardly find time to read, are opportunities for getting know that person further.
Before you know it, you’ve made a connection.
When my top four life-changing book list crept past 20, I knew I’d never pare it down to four. So, I didn’t. I went for a dozen, a baker’s dozen. Alright, 14. I’ve reread them all several times.
Here they are in no specific order, with an attempt at categorizing. Enjoy!
History / Biography
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coate
Psychology / Neuroscience / Mind-Body
The Molecules of Emotion by Candace B. Pert
Humanizing the Narcissistic Style by Stephen M. Johnson
Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson
Philosophy / Education / Spirituality
On Dialogue by David Bohm and Lee Nichol
Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning by Eugene Gendlin
About Learning by Bernice McCarthy
Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope
Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
Fiction & Not Classifiable
A favorite about resilience, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
What about you? What book(s) have been life changing for you?