A book that changed me

The ElementThe inspiration for this blog post came from the Guardian site which encourages readers to contribute short blurbs about books that left them with a lasting impression.

For me, my choice would be non-fiction book “The Element” by educationalist Ken Robinson. I bought it during a long transit at London’s Heathrow airport to kill time but it turned out to be the right book, ‘speaking’ to me at a point in my life where I was standing at a crossroad after completing my undergraduate degree.

For many of us, graduation is a milestone in our lives where we are being thrust with the responsibility to decide how we are going to take our first steps into the real world. I thought long and hard, even when I was traveling, about various considerations mentioned in the book such as money, career and passion.

And I regretted. I started re-thinking about my acceptance into law school for postgraduate studies.

“Many people set aside their passions to pursue things they don’t care about for the sake of financial security. The fact is though, that the job you took because it “pays the bills” could easily move offshore in the coming decade. If you have never learned to think creatively and to explore your true capacity, what will you do then?”

I have no qualms about studying law but when I contemplated my interest in law and eventually becoming a lawyer, I faltered.

Robinson argues in his book your passion for life will occur when you are in your Element, ‘the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion.’ In another words, it is where the things you love to do and the things you are good at come together.

What I appreciated most about this book is in its specificity where Robinson illustrates his points with specific examples and his step-by-step procedures. More importantly, he was passionate about his work and you could get a sense of that through his writing.

Do What You Love, Love What You DoIt was a tough decision that I slept on it for days. I thought about all the big money I was going to wave goodbye to and the disappointments I would have to cope with but eventually, I concluded law school was not what I really wanted to do.

With hindsight, I would say it was a correct decision because I do not think I can be anywhere better than being in my Element. Click here for my full book review of ‘The Element.’

Do you have any books that inspired you or changed you? I would love to know so please share them with me in the comments box below!

31 thoughts on “A book that changed me

  1. Hello, I’ve felt the same way as you do, and I can say that it is not an easy things to do, when I was out on my job. I had a hard time, but I pursue what I believe I can be, and so I just started constructing my blog. Anyway it is not a book that inspired me to change, it is a poem “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost, its a nice stuff.

    1. Hello there, hope things have picked up for you.

      But indeed, that poem by Robert Frost is a short but meaningful one.

      “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
      I took the one less traveled by,
      And that has made all the difference.”

      Wishing you all the best my friend.

  2. Greetings, I have not come across the book that has inspired or changed me. I do know I am at a cross road with what I am good at doing and what I am passionate about. I thought I knew what I wanted to do for my life’s work. I thought I knew who I wanted to be recognized as and what I wanted to be recognized for. Apparently, I did not and do not know and now I am even more confused at 44 than I was at 20.
    Peace and Blessings.

  3. I’m currently going through some similar experiences. I recently finished my bachelors degree. I am currently traveling, just like you were, in India, contemplating how I’m going to take my first steps into the real world. My two passions are India and writing. I’ve been trying to combine the two into my blog, whose purpose is to convey Indian culture and society to Americans.

    The link is here, if you’re interested:


    Great post! Keep inspiring us.

    1. Hey John, thanks for swinging by my blog.

      I have to say your blog is so interesting! It’s like a mish-mash of cultural insights from India. Am totally digging it. Good luck with your stay there and will be keeping my eyes peeled for more updates from you 😀

  4. I have definitely lived the “taking a job to pay the bills” and it breaks down. I am glad that you had the courage to move in a different direction and I am curious if you would comment on what you chose and how.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m currently in the news industry, which is what I’ve wanted to enter since high school. Yet the ironic thing is after some internships in the newsroom, I realized that it’s a pretty stark industry to be in right now because of downsizing in many companies. But after some knocks and turns, I’m glad to have got myself a foot inside the news business.

  5. Reblogged this on emmapalmerdance and commented:
    I chose to do dance because it is my passion but sometimes we all need a little reminder when things get hard. This year it did and I think I want to add this to my reading this so when I go through another rough patch (that I know I will) I’ll be able to remind myself that I am doing something I truly love and I can get through whatever challenges I face.

    1. Good to hear that you chose to pursue what you wanted! It’s always tough, especially when faced with the burdens of reality. Hope you’ll be able to persist and achieve your dreams! 😀

  6. Reblogging this so I can read more about it. Definitely a one I’m going to add to my reading list. Sounds fascinating

  7. “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon altered me. From its opening sentence, “A screaming comes across the sky,” to its revelation of the hero’s fading from view, the book sank into my eyes and forged itself with my brain. The effort of the characters to make their ways across the interface of Europe in the days following the end of the war until the division of the spoils spoke volumes to me. The hunt for the 00000 missile became my quest, too. I saw meaning where none lay before. I still hold this book dear, and re-read it every few years. Perhaps it’s due for another go.

  8. the kind of book I am contemplating on reading because this just may show me Law School is not the route I truly want to head down to. interesting, but intriguing all at the same time.

  9. Reblogged this on recalcitrantobserver and commented:
    I remember reading a similar book, which title and author escape me right now completely, when I was maybe 16-17 and the decisions about my future loomed over me.
    I think I made the right ones, I’ve studied subjects I love, enjoyed the time, people and expanding my horizons.
    So what thou, if getting a job doing something remotely connected with my education – and by proxy, my dream job – is next to impossible?
    I work in a lovely place, with very nice people but doing boring, boring things that make my brain turn to mush and all my skills and knowledge I gathered on the way seep slowly out of me with every day.

    So, I agree. Doing something you love is important, and great, and you should strive to get a job where you can do just that. But don’t hold your breath and don’t just wait around for the perfect opportunity – to do what you love for money you need a truck load of determination AND a bit of luck.
    I with that last part to all, including myself.

  10. Wow, where to start with books that changed me?!?! I can remember being in my 7th grade English class, while my teacher read, “A Day No Pigs Would Die,” and looking around my class to see boys and girls alike with eyes shining with tears. It was an experience that drew all 20 of us together. Reading Beth dying in “Little “Women,” and Robert lying in the ground in “For Whom the Bell Tolls” crushed me. These moving moments fueled my love of reading, and my desire to write. It’s funny how fictional characters become friends that we learn from and grow with (hello Harry Potter)!

    1. I would almost remember the moment my heart sank a little when JK Rowling announced that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going to be the last of the series. I felt a little lost especially when I grew up anticipating her next new Potter book to be released. But alas, all good things got to come to an end and thereby ends the story of my childhood friend. Thanks for sharing your memorable literary moments!

  11. That would be “Put Your Dream to the Test” by John Maxwell. It made me get off my butt and make my writing dreams happen. Oddly enough, as I started being proactive, people were put into my path to help me. I can’t believe how far I’ve come in the year since I read the book.

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