It’s not a joke. I have indeed read about 2,500 books that have changed my life most radically and irrevocably. Of course, I don’t know the exact number; 2,500 is a rough amount I deduced based on my age and how many books I manage to read in a year. It easily can be 2,000 or 3,000, but you probably got the idea.
Such titles are pretty popular among the writers inhabiting the book review niche. “Five Books That Turned My Life Around.” “10 Books That Changed the Way I See the World.” “20 Books You Must Read if You Want to Be Happy.” These titles appeal to readers and are welcomed by SEO. They are also all identical as silver quarters, but who cares? The important thing is that they, like quarters, do what they are supposed to. They satisfy the demand.
However, even SEO has a saturation point. So what is left for authors to do? That’s right, raise the stakes. Except…
A couple of days ago, I saw a headline like this:
300 Books That Changed My Life.
I’m sorry, WHAT?
No, seriously? 300?
The absurdity of that headline made me wonder about the general meaning of such titles. What changes exactly are they talking about? Here, I have a question for you: are there any books that do not affect our life and way of thinking? Read-and-forget sort of books, where as soon as the last page turned, the text instantly eroded from memory, leaving no trace. But even then, the book still changed the reader’s life — he spent the time to read it, which could have been spent on something else. For example, to write his own book.
Even reading a phone book changes your life, and if, for example, you suddenly find the number of your friend with whom you have lost touch and dreamed of meeting for the past 20 years — it changes radically. And if it is a medical guide and you learn how to do CPR from it, it can even save someone’s life.
So what now? Should I write the article titled “5 Guides That Changed My Life Forever?”
By the way, if you happen to read the world’s worst book from an incredibly untalented author, it will radically change your future, too. Of course, you will never touch that person’s work again. You can’t go more radical as a reader, do you?
A “life change meter” has not yet been invented and is unlikely ever to be. However, this does not exclude the fact that someone may feel that a book has turned his life upside down from a subjective point of view, but this does not mean that it will have the same effect on other readers.
Because we are not silver quarters.
But if you consider the headlines in terms of “life-changing experience,” the number 300 seems, well… Doubtful at least. Such numbers devalue the very concept of life change.
It doesn’t matter how many books you read, only one or several thousand. Each book changed you irrevocably because no one can go back in time and “undo” the impression of any text, including this article. I have no idea how it can be possible to designate any number of them as “life-changing” and discard the others.
So yes, all the 2,500 books I have read have radically and irrevocably changed my life. Each individually and all together. And I hope this process will be stopped by the only guaranteed event in our lives.
Change your life every day, every possible hour and minute.