Through the ages, writers have been part of a grand tradition of authoring change. In the process, these writers have left a legacy in the form of published words that inspired movements, causes and changes in mindset.
Think back to the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, I Ching, and Koran.
How about the Declaration of Independence?
Books that Inspired Change
I bet you know many books that inspired change. Transformational books abound. For example, maybe you remember:
- Common Sense by Thomas Paine
- The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engel
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
- Rules for Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
- The Analects by Confucius
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
All of these books altered people’s actions, mindsets, and world views.
Tell-Tales Signs of Transformation
If you want to know if a book is transformational in nature—if it inspires change of one type or another, check the back cover or the subtitle.
Here’s what I found on the back cover of a few change-inspiring books on my shelves:
Walden by Henry David Thoreau: “An experiment in simple living.”
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle: “Transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.”
Silent Spring by Rachel Carsen: “Her warning sparked a revolution in environmental policy and created a new ecological consciousness.”
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel: Man’s Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books in America; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living.”
You also can look at the subtitle of a book and discern if it has a transformational purpose. For instance:
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Additionally, book reviews can give you a sense of a book’s change-inspiring nature. For example:
The New York Times said An Inconvenient Truth was a book that could “push awareness of global warming to a real tipping point.”
The New York Times said Lean In By Sheryl Sandberg “will be an influential book. It will open the eyes of women who grew up thinking that feminism was ancient history, who recoil at the word but walk heedlessly through the doors it opened. And it will encourage those women to persevere in their professional lives.” Publisher’s Weekly also wrote, “A new generation of women will learn from Sandberg’s experiences, and those of her own generation will be inspired by this thoughtful and practical book.”
Authors of Change Leave Clues
If you are wondering how to write your transformational book, use successful change-inspiring books as models. You can read the books mentioned in this post—or any others you come across—and explore their:
All of these aspects of a book give you information on what works or doesn’t work when it comes to authoring change.
After exploring these books, you’ll be ready to author change of your own. You can join forces with other authors of change and leave a written legacy that inspired a movement, cause or change in mindset.
What have you learned from transformational books that helps you author change today?
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