Random Thoughts

Can a Book Change a Person, Character or Life?

A few days back I received a forward from one of my friends. It was the new- gen stand alone comedy where the speaker was openly ridiculing and making fun of all those books on ‘self development and improvement’ by popular authors. The reception as expected was tumultuous and I too cannot but control my smirk on some of his ‘cheeky comments’.

Well, The following writeup I have done sometime back before seeing this video.

You might have seen that I have been writing and commenting about books a lot. But, while I know books are the windows to the world for me and many people, polished my language, enjoyed, laughed and cried. However, I just cannot accept one statement which is consistently made.

‘This book changed my life.’ ‘That book gave me a lot of confidence’. ‘After reading that book I have been changed into a totally different person’, etc. These statements are basically made on the books written on self or personality development. I am not belittling the competence of the authors who had/have been influencing a lot of population both young or old through their powerful or committed writing, I beg to differ that a person can change himself/herself totally just by reading a book. I have seen even constant advices, personal counselings, direct life experiences, loss or gain in personal or professional lives seem to have hardly created any changes in many.

Books do inflluence us. But, my experience after translating two books on individual and personality and business developments I was, honestly, cheesed off by the contents of those books. In fact, both are  best sellers.

A book can influence the reader, no doubt. Can make one think or muse. But, changing the life, character, profession etc. are nothing but empty rhetoric.

To be a good person one should basically have a kind heart and empathy. These are inborn in my opinion. They also can turn bad at anytime. Similarly, a bad person can turn into a good one at one point of time. It depends again on the individual’s mind, life, circumstances and basic inherent qualities.

Success? That part is always a bit hazy only. It is one hundred percent because of luck! This I have understood through not one but through several events happened for me, the people around me and the books I have read on successful people.

Success stories are plenty but only success is celebrated. Failures never draw attention and are neglected; it is but natural.


More by :  G Swaminathan

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