Can a book change your life?

31 10 2014


Books are the simplest yet most powerful tool in transforming lives. They can provoke us to think.They can prompt us to challenge the status quo.

They can compel us to act, change and transform our lives in ways that could otherwise be impossible in a world without books. Make no mistake. Books are not just for the bookish geek or the scholarly academic.

They are for anyone who has the hunger to learn and the desire to grow, and the will to break free and the courage to pursue their dreams, and the commitment to do something for their loved ones.

Whatever you do, make reading a significant part of your life. We go to school to learn how to read and write. But for many people, school is also where they have learnt to hate books.

How many books have you read since the day you left school, college or university?

What a waste of time – having spent all these years learning how to read and thereafter never read much aftergraduation.

Mark Twain once said,’The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.’

Stop wasting our lives away. Start now.

One of the best things you can do to your loved ones is to buy him or her a book on a topic he or she loves – regardless whether he or she loves reading or not. Chances are he or she will still read it because it is on his or her passion. Do it a few more times, you would have cultivated him/her a gift that might stay with him/her for life.

What more can you do for someone you truly love and care for – especially when you know that you cannot be with him or her forever?

Here is a short story of a man whose life was transformed by a book that came to him at the lowest point of his life. Sylvester Stallone, in the late 1960s and early 1970s was a struggling ‘nobody’ actor who tried hard but never had much success at all in the movie business. His relationship with his wife then was strained, money was tight and he had no ‘real’ jobs. They could not even afford the gas to heat up the house.

Edgar Allan Poe

On days that were colder than usual, he would go to the New York public library because it was warm there. One day, he picked up a book on the table left there by someone else. It was a book of poems by Edgar Allan Poe. He held up the book and read the entire book and at the end of it Stallone instantly knew what to do. First, he knew that he had to change.

He said that Edgar Allan Poe got him out of himself. Edgar taught him how he could touch other people and not to worry about himself so much. Stallone was inspired by how Edgar the poet and writer had (was and still is touching) touched him. So, Stallone became a writer! He wrote screen-plays and scripts for the film industry that included the one for his ground-breaking and career-kick-starting Rocky.

Had it not been the book left on the table that cold New York day which was later fatefully picked up by Stallone, he would still be knocking on doors that were routinely slammed shut on him due to his speech-impediment and partially paralysed face. He had to be a writer to write his own script and the nerves of steel to insist that he and no other actors should play the character of the protagonist in the Rocky story that was inspired by one of the Muhammad Ali fights that he watched one night.

I first came across this story from a clip below, narrated by Anthony Robbins. Can a book change your life? Yes, but only if you allow it to.

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