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Books That Changed the Lives of Great People

17 Nov 2015

One book, read at the right time can have an incredible effect on a person's life. And there are many examples.

We gathered for you few truly amazing stories about how a book influenced the lives of famous personalities. And how this helped them change science, culture and economy of the world. Once again, we see that power of the written word can have an impact that should not be underestimated. Who knows, maybe, one of these books will change your life too, or at the very least, you will gain priceless knowledge, and improve your own perspective on life, society and values. A nice bargain, isn’t it? We believe that these books will be equally useful for students, as well as professors, as well as any person who wants to change his or her life for the better.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

After reading Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”, Marquez realized that his true purpose in life is being a writer. Marquez preferred to indulge in reading before going to bed, as it made him fall asleep faster, but not this time, not when reading Kafka. The book shocked him immensely, waking him up, instead of putting his thoughts to bed, inspiring him to sit down, and write the very next morning.

Impressed, Marquez said: "Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka ... from the first string identified my new way of life. A new day found me at the typewriter, which I took to try to create something similar ... All the days that followed, I did not go to university, for fear that the magic will dissipate, envy, reflected in the drops of sweat covered my face. "

J.K. Rowling
"Emma" by Jane Austen

Jane Austen is J.K. Rowling’s favorite writer, and "Emma" is her most favorite novel. Rowling was under a great impression from Austin’s masterful depiction of the mystery surrounding the relationship between Frank and Jane that tormented every reader, and that kept them hooked till the very end. Author confessed that all her life she was attempting to create the same kind of intrigue, as Austin, and she is convinced that she hasn’t succeeded yet. She allows herself to claim that "The Casual Vacancy" is by far her best attempt in her quest for perfect Austin’s intrigue.

Albert Einstein
"A Treatise of Human Nature" by David Hume

"A Treatise of Human Nature" consists of three books: "Of the Understanding", "Of the Passions" and “Of Morals". In the first book, Hume talks about the relativity of such concepts as space, time, knowledge, and initiates the discussion about probability, including the concept of cause and effect.

Einstein often said that "Treatise" had a great impact on his life, and led him to the creation of Theory of relativity. It helped him to depart from the usual concepts of space and time, and to formulate the main tenets of his work. "It is possible that without reading these philosophical works, I would never have come to my conclusions,” he admitted.

Kurt Cobain
"Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" by Patrick Suskind


Many people were impressed by the "Perfume", but a rare person may say that he loves the book. Kurt Cobain is one of those few. This book seems to have influenced him, but not in a very good way. "I read "Perfume" at least a dozen times and still can not stop. It simply does not let me go. I'm a hypochondriac, and maybe because of it, this book affected me so strongly, it just turns me inside out,’’ he said in an interview a few months before his death.

Rejected and single Jean-Baptiste Grenouille does not find the empathy and love in anybody, but he has the ability to create perfumes that have no competition anywhere in the world. Many people can see a parallel between Suskind’s tragic hero, and his life, and Cobain’s destiny.

Cobain used the inspiration from reading this book to write “Scentless Apprentice” for the album “In Utero”.

Mark Zuckerberg
"Aeneid" by Virgil

Zuckerberg read "Aeneid", when he studied Latin in school. The poem tells the story of Aeneas, the legendary Trojan hero who moved to Italy with the remnants of his people and founded the city Lavinium. Mark admitted that he was impressed with the hero desire to build the city that does not know "the boundaries of time and splendor". This fictional place influenced Mark’s attitude towards life and the way of setting goals.

Zuckerberg's former partner Sean Parker confirmed: "He dreamed of greatness and had imperial ambitions – when he was 20 years-old and now. He's the spitting image of the hero of one of these Greek odysseys".

Marilyn Monroe
"Ulysses" by James Joyce

Photo on which Marilyn Monroe is reading "Ulysses", considered one of the most interesting and famous photos of this sex symbol of a woman of all time. "She said she keeps the "Ulysses" in her car and often read it,” recalls photographer Eve Arnold. “She said that she liked the sound of it, and she would read it out loud to herself. "

This image created a craze. People were amazed to learn that Marilyn is not a silly blonde. It turned out she had a huge library, filled with books on psychology.

Ernest Hemingway
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy

For Hemingway among all the authors (and trust us, we did our research, he read A LOT!), the most influential was Leo Tolstoy, and his "War and Peace", which was Hemingway’s favorite novel. Tolstoy impressed Hemingway with his candor and sharpness in the disclosure of social ills. And in his novels the writer did the same: he was concerned about moral issues and sought the meaning of life. 

Hemingway, who compared literature with boxing, was talking about the greatness of Tolstoy: "I started very modestly and beat Mr. Turgenev,” he said. “Then, and it was difficult, I beat Mr. de Maupassant. With Mr. Stendhal I had a tie, but it seems that in the last round, I still won. But nothing can force me to enter the ring against Mr. Tolstoy.”

Sergey Brin, the billionaire and founder of Google
«Surely, you're Joking, Mr. Feynman»

The American physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman had many unusual hobbies, from music to hacking safes. Naturally, he also was a great writer and humorist, his autobiographical book, full of humor and funny stories became a bestseller.

Brin was very impressed with the Feynman’s openness to everything new and his desire to become Leonardo da Vinci of his time. Sergey realized the importance of being creative and constantly working on improving himself. This, in many ways, determined the success of Google.

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