You've GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life
  • Alternative view 1 of You've GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life
  • Alternative view 2 of You've GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life
  • Alternative view 3 of You've GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life
<Previous >Next

You've GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life

4.0 3
by Jack Canfield, Gay Hendricks

View All Available Formats & Editions

There's nothing better than a book you can't put down—or better yet, a book you'll never forget. This book puts the power of transformational reading into your hands. Jack Canfield, cocreator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, and self-actualization pioneer Gay Hendricks have invited notable people to


There's nothing better than a book you can't put down—or better yet, a book you'll never forget. This book puts the power of transformational reading into your hands. Jack Canfield, cocreator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, and self-actualization pioneer Gay Hendricks have invited notable people to share personal stories of books that changed their lives. What book shaped their outlook and habits? Helped them navigate rough seas? Spurred them to satisfaction and success?

The contributors include Dave Barry, Stephen Covey, Malachy McCourt, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Mark Victor Hansen, John Gray, Christiane Northrup, Bernie Siegel, Craig Newmark, Michael E. Gerber, Lou Holtz, and Pat Williams, to name just a few. Their richly varied stories are poignant, energizing, and entertaining.Author and actor Malachy McCourt tells how a tattered biography of Gandhi, stumbled on in his youth, offered a shining example of true humility—and planted the seeds that would help support his sobriety decades later.

Bestselling author and physician Bernie Siegel, M.D., tells how William Saroyan's The Human Comedy helped him realize that, in order to successfully treat his patients with life-threatening illnesses, "I had to help them live—not just prevent them from dying."

Actress Catherine Oxenberg reveals how, at a life crossroads and struggling with bulimia, a book taught her the transforming difference one person could make in the life of another—and why that person for her was Richard Burton.

Rafe Esquith, the award-winning teacher whose inner-city students have performed Shakespeare all over the world, recounts his deep self-doubt in the midst of his success—and how reading To Kill a Mockingbird strengthened him to continue teaching.

Beloved librarian and bestselling author Nancy Pearl writes how, at age ten, Robert Heinlein's science fiction book Space Cadet impressed on her the meaning of personal integrity and gave her a vision of world peace she'd never imagined possible. Two years later, she marched in her first civil rights demonstration and learned that there's always a way to make "a small contribution to intergalactic harmony."

If you're looking for insight and illumination—or simply for that next great book to read—You've Got to Read This Book! has treasures in store for you.

Editorial Reviews

"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable spelled out is a spark." These words of Victor Hugo continue to cast light nearly two centuries after they were written. In You've Got to Read This Book!, Chicken Soup impresario Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks share personal stories of transformation from well-known people in many walks of life. The booklover/contributors include Malachy McCourt, Dave Barry, Stephen Covey, Kenny Loggins, Mark Victor Hansen, and John Gray. Resonant reading.
Publishers Weekly
Canfield, the brains behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and Hendricks (Conscious Living) stay in the inspirational mode with this collection of dozens of entertainers, sports personalities, businesspeople, writers, environmentalists and activists telling up-by-their-bootstraps stories involving books. Some, like Dave Barry (inspired by humorist Robert Benchley) and Lou Holtz (David Schwartz's The Magic of Thinking Big) are well known. Other are recognizable for the products they've created: Craigslist founder Craig Newmark praises The Cluetrain Manifesto, which mirrored his own early belief in the power of the Internet. Among the more memorable contributions is that of 21-year-old Farrah Gray, who spent his early childhood on public assistance, read Deepak Chopra's The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success at age 11 and made his first million at 14. Two contributors-motivational speaker Lisa Nichols and eBay COO Maynard Webb-cite Stephen Covey's best-selling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey himself was uplifted by heady reading-Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning and E.F. Schumacher's A Guide for the Perplexed-both books, he says, affecting everything from his parenting to his teaching. It's a mixed bag, more uplifting than literary, but readers may find the book that turns them on the way these contributors were. (Sept.). Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Dallas Morning News
“It’s the kind of inspirational book that will probably bring back memories of your own pleasures.”
“This must-read is sure to provide inspiration, motivation, and a springboard for discussion.”
Tucson Citizen
“This is good stuff and as satisfying as a bowl of steaming soup on a cold winter day.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt

You've GOT to Read This Book! LP

55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life
By Jack Canfield

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Jack Canfield
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061119962

Chapter One

Jacquelyn Mitchard

Jacquelyn Mitchard is a critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the first book selected for Oprah's Book Club and was made into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. She has written five other novels and three children's books. A newspaper reporter since 1976, she now writes a nationally syndicated column for Tribune Media Services and travels to promote awareness of colorectal cancer, which took the life of her first husband, award-winning reporter Dan Allegretti. Jacquelyn lives on an old farm south of Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband Chris Brent and their seven children, who range in age from 4 months to 22 years.

A few years ago, on my birthday, a simple box arrived in the mail from my dear friend and agent, Jane Gelfman. When I opened it and saw what it contained, tears welled up in my eyes. It was a first edition of the book that I loved more than any other: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The copy was inscribed lovingly by the author, Betty Smith, to her own agent, and tucked inside were letters she had written, preserved just as they were 60 years ago. At this point, even my children, gathered around the dinner table, grew misty eyed. They knew how I feltabout this book, its author, and its heroine.

Some months before, I had herded my three teenaged sons into a budget screening of the newest movie production of Little Women. They entered that theater as willingly as accused felons being led to jail while TV cameras rolled—their coats hunched over their faces, lest they encounter anyone they knew.

Afterward, however, they realized why Little Women was required reading in our house full of little men, along with a couple of other "girl" books, including National Velvet and, of course, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My son Dan, who, before puberty and Limp Bizkit hit simultaneously, was known to us as "the sensitive one," said as we got into the car, "I get it. When you were a kid, you wanted to be Jo March, didn't you, Mom?"

I had to admit it—I did want to be Jo, the brilliant young heroine of Little Women, growing up with a gentle, endlessly patient mother and a brave, wise, and superbly educated father; surrounded by books, piano music, genteel poverty, and noble breeding, in a large house shaded by old trees and with handsome boys next door. But I knew, and my children knew, I was Francie Nolan, the plucky, resourceful star of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Like Francie, I'd been an urban child; I recognized the Brooklyn tree that Betty Smith describes in the book's epigraph:

". . . Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that . . . survives without sun, water and seemingly, without earth. It would be considered beautiful, except that there are too many. . . ."

There were trees like that on the West Side of Chicago, too. I'd lived in an apartment there when I was small. My aunt and uncle lived downstairs and my grandparents lived one building over. Everyone was either a plumber or a bricklayer. Our family, though always employed, definitely aspired to the lower-middle class. But I was the daughter of parents who never finished high school: a mother devoted to books and to my only brother and me, and an alcoholic father who worked so long and played so hard, we barely saw him. Our extended family was large, sometimes raucously loving, and sometimes raucously violent. The laughter was often too loud; the songs beautiful, but the words often slurred. Books were a shelter and a friend to me when that shelter wasn't available in real life.

My mother sought that shelter, too. Long before Oprah, she read the great books: Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and Crime and Punishment. She didn't realize that she was too uneducated—that those books were not meant for her. She always brought home the very best things to read from the library. She gave me the message that nothing was off limits for me, that the circumstances of my birth would not contain me, and that as long as I could learn, I could never be a prisoner of my circumstances.

One day when I was 12 she gave me A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Since that day, I've read it 11 times. I have a tradition of reading it before every book that I write. A work of fiction, it's a beautiful portrayal of urban poverty, and very gritty. We think of it as a book for little seventh-grade girls, but it isn't. It's a book in which there are terrifying things: alcoholism and child abuse and children in terribly dangerous circumstances caused by neglect.

Yet Francie's mother, Katie, makes Francie's life a stable place and points her toward education—in Francie's case, secretarial school, though she wants to be a writer. Katie teaches her that education is the only way to leave behind the kind of life in which she's grown up—the life of a tree forcing its way through the cracks in the cement, surviving on not much more than its own fierce will to live. Her mother was the person who best understood Francie's life ambitions and how difficult they were going to be to achieve. I was struck by how understanding her mother was of Francie as she matured—it reminded me of my own mother, who was the same way with me until she died when I was 19.

Francie Nolan did grow up to be a writer. Reading her story as a child, I felt she was showing me . . .


Excerpted from You've GOT to Read This Book! LP by Jack Canfield Copyright © 2006 by Jack Canfield. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is the cocreator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, which includes forty New York Times bestsellers, and coauthor with Gay Hendricks of You've GOT to Read This Book! An internationally renowned corporate trainer, keynote speaker, and popular radio and TV talk show guest, he lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Gay Hendricks is the author and coauthor of more than twenty books that deal with personal growth, including the New York Times bestseller Five Wishes and Conscious Living.

Brief Biography

Santa Barbara, California
Date of Birth:
August 19, 1944
Place of Birth:
Fort Worth, Texas
B.A. in History, Harvard University, 1966; M.A.T. Program, University of Chicago, 1968; M.Ed., U. of Massachusetts, 1973

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

You've GOT to Read This Book!: 55 People Tell the Story of the Book That Changed Their Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
Yes, you do!!! Chock full of books that inspired and touched famous people and also not just "this is the book that....", but gives how, why, etc... I am using this as a springboard to even great reading! A treasure -
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just great fun, revisiting 'old friends' and discovering some new ones.