elephant asks: What Book Changed Your Life?

Via elephant journal
on Jul 13, 2012
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We all have those special books.

I think it would almost be easier to say what books changed different parts of my life. Born Free and Silent Spring changed the way I thought about animals and the environment. Walden, Leaves of Grass and On the Road changed the way I thought about adventure and writing and life. Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior and Peace is Every Step changed how I thought—about everything. And The Little Prince, well, I could re-read The Little Prince monthly and never tire of it.


So we asked what books changed your lives, and you answered:

    • Tatum Bacchi The kind diet.

      July 9 at 8:13am via mobile
    • Anna Sheinman I have a box [TV] with no cable… rarely I flip through the Nextfix for about 5 minutes to only turn it off:-)

      July 9 at 2:50pm ·
    • Kate Glover The candida cure by Ann boroch. Sally kemptons meditation for the love of it. Chez panisse cafe cookbook by Alice waters. A life of balance by maya tiwari. The urban homestead by Kelly coyne and Eric knutzen. Oh yes and one of the most life impacting is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. ♥ books!

      July 9 at 10:52pm via mobile
    • Mathew Dillon Both, ‘On The Road’ and ‘Dharma Bums’ by Jack.

      Tuesday at 12:22am ·
    • Simone Coppola The Dharma Bums by Jack and “La fine è il mio inizio” by Tiziano Terzani

      Tuesday at 6:26am ·
    • Anna Sheinman‎ 1) The brave new world – “get rid of the TV” 2) On the Road – “explore, risk, go” 3) Gurdjieff – “experience, don’t believe your ears” 4) Bhagavad Gita & Yoga Sutra – “change beyond words” 5) Steve Jobs – “be hungry, be stupid” 6) Tom Robbins – “creative mind, dream on…” 7) Ayn Rand – “it is ok to be different” 8) Tantra: Path of Ecstasy by Dr. Georg Feuerstein – “human life is short, but precious in a sense that it is the ladder to realizing the self” 9) The Illusion of Conscious Will by Daniel M. Wegner – “does free will really exist?” 10) John Perkins – “change a dream, change a reality”

      Tuesday at 8:06am ·
    • Anna Sheinman Kate, you inspired me to write a blog…xoxo

      Tuesday at 8:06am ·
    • Susanna Harwood Rubin Proust.

      Tuesday at 11:28pm ·
    • Kate Fields Bartolotta À la recherche du temps perdu? And his madeleines?

      Tuesday at 11:29pm ·
    • Susanna Harwood Rubin Oh, yes…and it’s all really one long book, so…Proust 🙂 Heavenly. Some in French & most in English!

      Tuesday at 11:30pm ·
    • Kate Fields Bartolotta I have read pieces, but need to read the whole thing.

      Tuesday at 11:32pm ·
    • Lauren Hanna Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl!

      Tuesday at 11:33pm ·
    • Susanna Harwood Rubin It’s a lot & some of the middle 1000 pages or so drag a bit 🙂 But the 1st 1000 & last 1000 are gorgeous! Actually if you just read Combray – the 1st section, you get the point. The rest is only if you fall in love with it. (still on Proust here!)

      Tuesday at 11:34pm ·
  • DiAnna E. Ritola The Mists of Avalon

    July 9 at 8:12am ·
  • Mary Ocken Dream of the Earth, by Thomas Berry

    July 9 at 8:19am ·
  • Jen Maddox A New Earth

    July 9 at 8:21am ·
  • Amy Yount Adams Pale Blue Dot

    July 9 at 8:23am ·
  • Tony Hewlett Three-The Celestine Prophecy(James Redfield), The Alchemist(Paulo Cuehlo), The Power and the Glory(Graham Greene).

    July 9 at 8:26am ·
  • Jennifer Brown Rolling Thunder…by Doug Boyd

    July 9 at 8:31am ·
  • Franklyn Lo’presto sara book 1. the power of now. the diary of anne frank. a million little pieces. the akashic experience.

    July 9 at 8:33am ·
  • Kevin Frields Lance Armstrong It’s Not About the Bike…

    July 9 at 8:35am ·
  • Sarah Thompson Start something that matters by blake mycoskie, screw business as usual by richard branson

    July 9 at 8:45am
  • Kevin Frields‎…and Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild..

    July 9 at 8:46am ·
  • Melanie Merle Root‎”Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn or, much more recently, “True Love” by Thich Nhat Hanh

    July 9 at 9:00am ·
  • May Wong Happy Yoga by Steve Ross!

    July 9 at 9:10am ·
  • Jeffrey Littleton The Snow Leopard- Peter Mathiesson

    July 9 at 9:29am ·
  • elephantjournal.com ‎”Yoga and the Quest for the True Self” by Stephen Cope http://amzn.to/sL9Vp–Bob W.

    Yoga and the Quest for the True Self


    Millions of Americans know yoga as a superb form of exercise and as a potent sou…See More
  • Melissa Curtis Webb The Four Agreements…best book ever.

    July 9 at 10:26am ·
  • elephantjournal.com‎”Thoughts Without a Thinker” by Mark Epstein; “The Pursuit of Perfection” by Marion Woodman; “An Actor Prepares” by Constantin Stanislavski; there are a good number of “life changers” for me, too many to mention– Genna

    July 9 at 11:24am ·
  • Kelly Thompson So many! (approx. dates) 1985. The Road less Traveled, The Big Book 1990. End of Illusion, Aquarian Conspiracy1992. Sacred Path of the Warrior 1996. Ishmael 1998. The Peaceful Warriors Way, Life You Were Born To Live 2009. The Red Book 2012. The New EarthBy no means an exhaustive list!

    July 9 at 12:00pm ·
  • Trianna Serene The power of now.
  • Brianna Bemel Every book I read changes the way I live, at least for a little while. Here’s three: The Snow Leopard, Dharma Art, Toward a Psychology of Awakening.


If you didn’t get a chance to answer, leave us your favorites in the comments!

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Kate Bartolotta


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


15 Responses to “elephant asks: What Book Changed Your Life?”

  1. Rick says:

    When things fall apart.. By Pema Chodron.

  2. Nick Altieri says:

    A lot of good reads here and I have read several. For me though John Stienbeck’s Grapes of Wrath which I read at 14 years old. It taught me how to think about others. All others. It taught me to care, to love and act compassionate towards all.

  3. tridentgirl says:

    Where the Red Fern Grows comes to mind. Also, Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin.

  4. Amanda says:

    Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Highly recommended!

  5. Cunningham says:

    In the Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander, The Unsettling of America/Culture & Agriculture by Wendell Berry

  6. April says:

    Lord of the Flies

  7. David says:

    The Spell of the Sensuous and Becoming Animal by David Abram. Focusing by Eugene Gendlin.

  8. Anne says:

    Summerhill, I Capture the Castle, Dark Piper, Lord of the Rings, Troutfishing in America, Kon Tiki

  9. __MikeG__ says:

    Fog Magic, forgot authors name because I read it in the third grade. Got me hooked on reading for life.

  10. Matt says:

    The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers / Joseph Campbell; The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, Abraham Maslow; Living at the Source, Vivekananda

  11. Edward Staskus says:

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  12. TSivo says:

    Autobiography of a Yogi

  13. Alice says:

    The book that had inspired me the most is the book by Stephen King titled The Body, I just love the how the story goes. I even watched the film Stand by me which is based on this book among the books of Stephen King that had been made to movie I think this is one of the best stephen king movies.

  14. radiosteve says:

    Demian by Herman Hesse, Twilight of the Idols by Nietzsche, The Painted Bird by Kosinski,are the first three. Growing up Catholic, these were tremendous eye-openers.

    The Compass of Zen by Seung Sahn cemented my on the path of Buddhism.

  15. […] Apparently, Paul Ryan enjoyed it too; so much so that in 2005, at a banquet honoring the author, he said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.” […]