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The other day someone on Ricochet mentioned Viktor Frankl and there’s no way I can see his name without thinking of his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning. His book had a deep influence on my life and how I have lived it. And then I realized it would be a powerful personal objective to not only identify a couple of other books that have made a difference in my life, but to think about “why” and “how” they had influenced me so profoundly. So I’m going to share two of my books and I’d love for you to consider sharing one or two of yours:
As I said, Frankl’s book had an enormous impact on me. Having survived the concentration camps, he determined that it wasn’t superficially obvious why some people survived and others didn’t. He finally realized that if a person had no hope or plans for his future, at some point he would simply give up and die. But if a person knew in his heart that he had more to do, that he hadn’t fulfilled his mission, whatever that might be, he survived. One of Frankl’s most famous quotes is, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Frankl inspired me to make a difference in the world, in whatever way I could.
The second book that had a major impact was Elie Wiesel’s, Night. I can’t even think about the book without feeling both devastated and inspired. I assume that you might know of Wiesel and his time in the concentration camps. What both weighed on me and filled my heart was his determination to survive that last, long, impossible walk in the snow, as the Nazis essentially forced a death march. To begin to imagine the fortitude that a human being can have in the face of incalculable odds is to be humbled and blessed.
I could list other books, but these are the two that are “up” for me. Resilience, fortitude, and wisdom in the face of the insurmountable are the characteristics of books that I am drawn to. They are difficult to read, impossible to imagine, but they inspire me to face whatever life presents.
Do you have one or two books that changed you? Inspired you? Since many of you may identify the Bible or Torah, consider identifying a specific book within those sacred tomes that changed your life. Once you identify your life-altering book(s), will you tell us about the reasons they influenced your life?Published in