Thursday, December 11, 2008

This I Believe

This I Believe: the Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
Various authors, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
© 2006

For a few years now I've listened to an NPR feature called "This I Believe", wherein a variety of individuals present a personal belief that guides their lives. I almost always find that listening to this enriches my own life, giving me insights that I've never before had. As such, I was quite excited when I learned that some of the essays had been released in book collections. This week I read the first collection, and it was very enjoyable. The book consists of eighty such essays, with forewords and afterwords at the beginning and end of the book to introduce the series and explain the purpose of the books -- to share the personal beliefs of ordinary people.

This I Believe
has existed in two distinct periods: the original program ran in the 1950s, and the current one runs still today. The book uses essays from both the 1950s and from the current program. While most of the stories do come from ordinary people, some essays come from more well-known personalities like Helen Keller, John McCain, Jackie Robinson, William Buckley Jr. , Bill Gates, Newt Gingrich, and so on. While some people view NPR as a bastion of liberality, you can see by some of the names cited that this collection that the range of worldviews is quite wide. There are eighty very distinct people here. I didn't agree with everything that was said, and I'm glad I didn't. The book would have been less useful, less enriching, if that had been the case.

The book is enormously, tremendously touching. Many essays brought tears to my eyes. This is a book I want in my personal library. I'm glad I had the chance to read it, and I recommend it to you.

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