For some it might be a dystopian novel and for others it might be an uplifting memoir, but almost everyone has a book, poem or essay that left a meaningful impact on them. We asked some of the brightest folks around town to tell us about books that have had a lasting impact for them.

Pavel Reppo | Executive Director, Finemind

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse 110% changed my life. My early teenage years were dwarfed by feelings of insecurity and obsessive-compulsive disorder. My family was tearing at the seams. My parents were newly divorced and my brother couldn’t quite fit in. I isolated myself and went silent. The first time was in 9th grade. I was assigned the book in my English Pre-International Baccalaureate class. The summer left me hollow. And, although I had muscles and a contoured exterior thanks to the many years of judo, on the inside, I was empty and scared. Siddhartha is the story of the Buddha, but perhaps more generally, a young man dissatisfied with his life, yearning to get his hands muddied in the world. The brilliance of the book was that it didn’t exempt the protagonist from turbulence, heartbreak, loss – it wasn’t the absence of pain. Siddhartha’s courage rubbed off on me. Read more>>

Anisah Amat | riter | Mother | Wife | Meditation Guide

Wow. There are so many books that I can think of that I love and have had an impact on me. The one that comes to mind first is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The four agreements seem fairly simple: 1. Be impeccable with your word. 2. Don’t take anything personally. 3. Don’t make assumptions. 4. Always do your best. Like I said, they seem incredibly simple until you begin to become more intentional about applying them to your life and you realize it’s challenging to avoid speaking against yourself; we tend to be our own worst critic. It’s challenging to not take anything personally; to not believe that what others do is not, sometimes, a direct attack on us. Right? They’re a lot easier said than done but possible. I have them written down on a sticky note on my mirror so that I look at them every day; I start my day with them. It’s all about patience and being intentional. Read more>>

R. Alan Brooks | Author and Professor

One of my favorite books is “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis. On its face, it’s a collection of letters between two demons, where they discuss how to destroy a person’s life. But as you read it, you begin to discover that it’s really about how we sabotage ourselves. Reading the book was the beginning of my journey towards understanding how fiction can provide a context for helping people reflect upon their choices and beliefs. And that understanding has shined throughout all that I’ve done as a professional author. Read more>>