In following a few clicks this morning from my daily email from the positive news source, Ode Magazine, I came across Meryl Evans’ blog on “short books that helped me get my reading groove back,” where she asked others for input on books that made an impact on them. As a nearly constant reader [see my daughter's blog on my reading], I was compelled to blog about some of the more impactful but brief books I’ve read.
A few years back, I took a parttime job in a small office that included a small library. I always picked up a book during lunch to read and found two really excellent ones I wholeheartedly recommend. The first is The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. This fiction story follows a young man through the steps he must take to qualify for his inheritance. The final gift was, of course, not the money but the lessons learned. The book has been made into a movie which, although somewhat different (having fewer lessons) than the book, is also excellent. Because of the differences, I would recommend both the book and the movie.
The other book I read while on that job was Andy Andrews’ The Traveler’s Gift. This is, again, a fiction book with lessons to be learned. The main character has suffered a number of losses and after being involved in a car crash is transported to visits with people of history who impart some life lessons to him: Abraham Lincoln, Anne Frank, King Solomon and Harry Truman, to name a few.
Last year, an advertising agent mentioned a book very worth reading. It is Mentor: The Kid and the CEO, A Simple Story of Overcoming Challenges and Achieving Significance by Thomas Alan Pace and Walter Jenkins. Once again, it’s a fictional story (strongly based on fact) of a CEO who regularly visits the county jail in the hopes of offering a lifeline to anyone of them who would grab it. The story is about a specific ‘kid’ who takes the CEO up on his offer and the life changes that ensue, to both of them, because of the arrangement.
One of the most valuable books I’ve ever read was written by Benjamin Zander and his wife, Rosalind Zander, called The Art of Possibility. Mr. Zander is the conductor of the Boston Symphony and his wife is a family counselor. They bring different gifts and experiences to human potential and the insights from this book are both simple and amazing – insights on teaching, communicating, learning, performing, personal relationships and even parenting. Would that all teachers, spouses, parents, managers and bosses read and apply the wisdom from this book.
I read a lot of fiction and though I enjoy that type of reading, it rarely has a life-changing impact on me. Other types of books, such as biographies, books on leadership, Christian living and Bible studies, have had impact on me, but often they have neither been easy reads nor less than 200 pages, as was the criteria for this list.