They say people come into your life at a time when you need them to be your mentors or mirrors. I feel the same is true of books. The book that catches your eye on the library shelf, the title you hear about from three different sources in the same week, and the book that is gifted to you are all brought to your attention by that really wise part of you.
But when I was given a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: 20th Anniversary Edition in exchange for an honest review, I had no idea just how perfectly timed these stories were for me. In fact, there has never been a time in my life when I didn’t need a dose of this kind of inspiration and I am sure the same can be said for many of you.
I particularly connected with the stories about family, service and legacy but I am hard-pressed to choose a favourite. Although I was initially invited to review the book because I am a Dr. Robert Holden fan – and his work appears in the book twice…yay!! – I was equally blown away by the other modern day thought leaders in addition to the original and bonus stories. That is a big pot of chicken soup!
As varied as the stories are, the human spirit behind each one connects us all. On the surface, you wouldn’t think I have much in common with a refugee from Vietnam or a young girl who was told she would never walk again but I was moved deeply by their journeys. The tears I shed as I made my way through the book were not of sadness but in recognition of the part of me that dwells in people I have never met. Their resilience, their perseverance, their absolute faith reached into me and reminded me that I have all the makings of an achiever. The stories didn’t just make me cry; they made me think: “What if I really put 100% into this idea/this dream?” That’s the kind of question I would encourage you to ponder as you read through this book.
Each chapter is prefaced by a significant quote that sets the tone for the next few pages. The quotes alone were cause for celebration. Here are two of my favourites:
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you. ~John Wooden
Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by Love. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There were stories that made me smile just a few sentences in as I recognized the voice of the author long before I got to the end of the chapter. Mastin Kipp’s energy and humour jumped off the page at me and I could imagine him sharing this story on a stage (as at the I Can Do It! Vancouver 2013 conference I attended). But when it came to the impact that the stories had on me, there was absolutely no difference between someone I have seen on T.V. or on stage, and someone I’d never heard of – like a 6 year old boy who sold bumper stickers for peace to international governments. This cemented for me that our spirits are housed in all kinds of bodies, young or experienced, famous or not, and these spirits are made of the same good stuff.
I am not sure how to tell you this book can be life-changing without sounding cliche. But I will emphasize that your life will only be changed by it if you allow the writers’ words to wake you up and encourage you to do what you came here to do.
If you’d like to purchase this book, please visit my Amazon bookstore affiliate link. Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition is in the Inspirational/Healing/Education category on the 4th page.
Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. As well, if you click on my Amazon bookstore affiliate link and make a purchase I do receive a percentage.