We asked folks we admire to shoutout books and tell us about the impact those books had on them.

Jason Williams | Wellbeing Coach

A book that I have read that changed my life was, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. This book made me look at life differently when it came to what you want out of life and how to manifest goals. Shift my perspective on what is truly important, saying and writing out what you want, and just take some form of action. Whether it happens or it doesn’t; it may come later in some other shape or form. Patience is the the key. Read more>>

Asia Denise Shelton | Photographer

One of my favorite books to keep on hand when I’m feeling burnt out, uninspired or disillusioned is Rainer Marie Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet”. Although written to a poet, Rilke’s letters can apply to literally anyone and have been an endless source of inspiration and comfort to me over the years. The collection of 10 letters touch on Rilke’s views on loneliness, grief, joy, and beauty, but it’s his thoughts on authenticity, self doubt and criticism that continue to draw me back to the book. For example, the young man asks Rilke, “Are my poems good?” Rilke responds, “You ask whether your poems are good. You send them to publishers; you compare them with other poems; you are disturbed when certain publishers reject your attempts. Well now, since you have given me permission to advice you, I suggest that you give all that up. You are looking outward and, above all else, that you must do now. No one can advise and help you, no one […] There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Read more>>

Charlie Havenick | Musician

Willa Cather’s “The Professor’s House” is the last book that left me a little shaken. Cather faced a lot of criticism for sectioning the book, but it adds a kind of musical, synesthetic quality. The middle section is a solid teal. There’s a lot of cultural anthropology readings of the text which definitely feels embedded in my major. I’m reaching the end of my comparative literature degree and I wrote an essay on the semiologic systems in the book. It was a comforting read because right now, my mediums are a little all over the place. It left me with the feeling that I could write a song about it or turn it into a hypothetical film treatment. Nebraskan Cather historians might rightfully disagree but some of her work feels like it could be an ongoing conversation. Read more>>

Parker Winans | Artist

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch. I just reread it. It’s great. It’s very David Lynch. Each chapter is like a paragraph long. The longest chapter is maybe 4 or 5 paragraphs. He talks about film, painting, creativity, people, places, wood, fire, and of course meditation. He has useful and interesting things to say about all those things. The most important influence the book had on me was an interest in meditation. It was helpful to realize that the guy who made crazy films like Eraserhead and Blue Velvet meditated. It was like being a kid and realizing your favorite athlete eats vegetables. “Anger and sorrow are a beautiful thing in a story but they are poison to the artist.” This line in particular has meant a lot to me over the years. Meditation has turned out to be the most important thing I’ve learned to do. I don’t practice Transcendental Meditation (which Lynch advocates for) but I’ve had the types of experiences that he describes, such as the “suffering rubber clown suit” dissolving. The “suffering rubber clown suit” is Lynch’s metaphor for depression and anger and other symptoms of ego illusion-having an unexamined mind. Read more>>

Charlie Laud | Writer, Director, Animator

“The Royal Road to Card Magic”. It’s an introductory text on sleight of hand that, in a practical sense, has absolutely nothing to do with my career in any way, shape, or form. However, not having any hobbies for the majority of my 20’s nearly killed me. I don’t think I’m results-oriented by nature, but the pressure of succeeding compelled me to do away with anything frivolous (anything fun, joyful, celebratory of the essential mystery of existence, etc.). Switching my reading habits from books on personal development to books on card magic has given me something to practice that is in a way, completely useless, but simultaneously, contains the very essence of wonder that, if I’m lucky, shows up in my work. Read more>>

Pam Roy Moira Hummel | Co-Authors, The Inspiring Wisdom of Viktor E. Frankl | A 21-Day Reflection Book About Meaning

We both read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and his messages about freedom of choice, responsibility and resilience really resonated with us. We have been friends for over forty years and Viktor Frankl’s philosophy was intuitive to both of us. It provided a tangible framework for how we had lived our lives and raised our children. We were so inspired that we read more of his books and watched as many of his videos and interviews as possible. We were lucky that we met Frankl’s grandson, Alexander Vesley, who helped advise us on his teachings. Although Man’s Search for Meaning has been read by over 12 million people, many still do not know about it or his theory called Logotherapy which means healing through meaning. Recognizing that the Holocaust is a difficult subject for some to read about and that his medical writing style could make it difficult for others, we felt that there was an opportunity to provide modern audiences with a book that could quickly engage them with his ideas and allow them to apply these to their own lives. Read more>>