5 Books That Changed My Life
“The reader became the book; and summer night was like the conscious being of the book.” -
― Wallace Stevens
I am what I read. I do not know if this goes the same for other people; but for me, the books that I've read are the greatest influnces of my life. I started reading when I was very young, I read for pleasure. I remember hoping that my parents would be late to pick me up from school, so I can stay in the library a bit longer after class.
Like everybody else, I started with fictional stories. I would recite my favorites, like Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast, cover to cover. Then I started my fascination with Cook Books and Vintage Magazines (probably influenced my design career.) My last childhood reading obsession was Roman and Greek Mythology. When I entered adulthood, I gave up fiction and started reading Philosophy, Religion, and Spirituality. Everything I read, I absorb, I became.
Today, I will share the books that created the best character out of me.
1. Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus
Learning: values of friendship and perseverance in finding my real purpose. The importance of listening to my inner voice and following my own path.
Description: Hope for the Flowers is an allegorical novel by Trina Paulus. It was first published in 1972 and reflects the idealism of the counterculture of the period. Often categorized as a children's novel, it is a fable "partly about life, partly about revolution and lots about hope – for adults and others including caterpillars who can read". The two focal characters are caterpillars named Yellow and Stripe. They begin their search for meaning by attempting to climb to the top of a caterpillar pillar only to discover another destiny.
Why: This book is the first novel I've ever read. It showed me the difference between ambition and purpose. The story illustrates how Stripe, did everything he can to reach the top of a caterpillar pillar. This pillar is made of caterpillars pushing against each other, crawling and climbing to reach the top. He tried and failed, got bigger and then tried again - only to find out that there is nothing at the top. His friend, Yellow, helped him realize that he must find his higher purpose and fly, not climb.
2. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., D.D.
Learning: how to consciously take control of my thoughts and feelings to achieve my goals in life.
Description: The premise of The Power of Your Subconscious Mind is that for many of us our thoughts are on something akin to auto-pilot. In other words, what goes on in our minds is something that at best we observe now and again and at worse something that we ignore completely – and to our detriment.
Why: Our subconscious mind dictates our thoughts, feelings, ideas - everything that we are programmed for. The subconscious mind practices homeostasis in our mental realm, by keeping us thinking and acting in a manner consistent with what we have done and said in the past. The book is an eye opener on how people tend to disregard guarding this important side of our brain.
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change By Stephen R. Covey
Learning: how to make practical and conscious decisions to improve the quality of my life.
Description: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective people has been helping people become more efficient for over 25 years. Originally published in 1989, Covey boils down the common habits of the most successful people into 7 easy to implement habits for the reader to incorporate into his or her everyday life.
These 7 habits give readers the skills needed to achieve self-mastery, and then use those skills to become highly efficient in working well with others. Covey’s classic is a must-read for those on the journey of personal development.
Why: This book did not sell millions of copies for nothing. This made me realize that the secret to success is hidden in our daily habit. The execution of the ideas in this book is so simple, yet effective.
4. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
Learning: humility and consciousness to our higher purpose.
Description: The Purpose-Driven Life has sold over 30 million copies and has been translated into more languages than any other book except the Bible. Warren has called his book the “ anti self-help book” because it focuses not on improving the self but instead focuses on discovering and following God’s plan for a fulfilled life.The book is structured around 5 core purposes for following one’s life purpose, which are worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and mission. It is divided into 40 chapters with the author’s intention of the reader reading 1 chapter each day. Each chapter is filled with timeless nuggets of wisdom from the Bible, which provide readers with guidelines on how to live the ideal Christian life.
Why: Sometimes the problem is not a religious issue, but human issues. I was able to listen to Rick Warren's Ted talk and that's when I decided to try reading this best-seller. As a modern Catholic, there are a few points in the book that I do not totally agree with. Nevertheless, the book answered most of my human issues.
5. Why Men Loves Bitches by Sherry Argov
Learning: loving and embracing my female power.
Description: Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl - A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship (ISBN 9781580627566) is a New York Times Bestselling self-help book by Sherry Argov.The book consists of advice, real-life relationship scenarios, "She Says/He Thinks" tables, and Argov's own "Attraction Principles".The book has been translated into 30 languages.Argov's writings were published in over 100 magazines, including People, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, Self, Glamour. She has appeared on television shows on Fox News Channel and MSNBC, and appeared on the The Today Show. Argov's books have been translated into over thirty languages and rank number one internationally in several languages.
Why: This opened my eye to becoming the woman that I am today. There are many points in this book that I find irrational. Like, the need to control too much of my character in order to "control" my relationships with men. However, the women empowerment that evolves around this book is astounding. Here's some of my favorite quotes:
“Anytime a woman competes with another woman she demeans herself.”
“Once you start laughing, you start healing.”
“The most attractive quality of all is dignity.”
“Agree with everything, explain nothing, then do what is best for you.”
“Standing up for yourself doesn't always involve verbal confrontation. Sometimes it's about not wasting energy on people who are negative.”
“when something is right, it will feel easier and much more effortless”
Creating this list is too hard, I know that there are tons of other books that touched my soul. I might create another post like this to share some of my other book recommendations.