What Book Changed Your Life?

A few weeks ago at the Blue Ridge conference, Steve Laube gave a keynote speech during which he asked, “Except the Bible, what book changed your life?”

More than one book changed my life, but the first one that popped into my mind was Looking Out for Number One by Robert J. Ringer.

Despite the ruthless title, the content is practical. The message isn’t, “Step on anyone and everyone to get to the top.” Rather, the author,  offers tips to help readers cope with the world, and how to get along with others while maintaining self-respect. I read this as a teenager, and I won’t reread it for this blog post. Instead, I’ll cite from memory a key point that’s kept me going throughout life:

There is one to a box. Don’t get married so that you won’t die alone. Because you will die alone. At the end of my life, I will face God alone. My husband won’t be with me as an advocate. I won’t get into Heaven because my grandfather was a church deacon, or because my grandmother served on the altar guild. I’m okay with this. I am an independent person despite my deep ties to others. As a result of pondering this point, I am not in the habit of placing blame on others, and I have always taken responsibility for my actions.

As promised, I wrote this blog post from memory. But out of the thousands of books I own, I was able to locate my copy of “Looking Out for Number One” in fewer than thirty seconds. I just might read it again.


Your turn:

What book changed your life? When did you read it?

Why did this book change your life?




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