This I Believe
by: Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (editors)
Published by: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
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Reviewed by Sarah van Ingen
Subtitle: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
In 1951, National Pubic Radio began a program in which participants used a few hundred words to encapsulate their deepest-held beliefs. The program, though incredibly popular, lost funding after a couple of years, was discontinued, and then reborn in 2005.
Now, editors Jay Allison and Dan Gediman have compiled eighty of the essays from both the original set of broadcasts and the most recent ones. The result is a stunning compilation of the beliefs of courageous individuals.
Browsing through the table of contents, you will be struck immediately by the famous individuals that have submitted their essays. From Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, and Jackie Robinson to Bill Gates, Collin Powell and Isabel Allende, these popular figures become transparent and vulnerable as they reveal their most closely held beliefs. And yet, often it's the essays by the ordinary among us, the laborer, the abandoned, the teacher, the AIDS researcher, that will bring tears to your eyes and move your heart profoundly.
These essays are extremely readable due to their short length and the intimacy of the project. If you pick up this book, you may find yourself compelled to read on, fascinated by how differently (and similarly) we live.
Perhaps the greatest impact this book has on its reader is in its implicit invitation to create one's own "This I believe" statement. Reading others' reflections on life causes one to wonder, "How would I put my deepest beliefs into words?" Just having the chance to sit back and to wonder about this is extremely rewarding.
In the words of one essayist, a civil engineer, given this chance to reflect, we find that "we are more than the inhabitants of our cubicles, more than engineers or even parents, husbands, and wives...we are transformed and connected by the power and beauty of our creativity."
This I Believe is an outstanding book. In this day and age, we are constantly driven to go, go, go. Don't miss this opportunity to sit back and learn about what your fellow citizens believe and to think about what you hold to be most dear and true.
Armchair Interviews says: We all need our own "This I believe" statement in this trying world.
From our armchair to yours...