What’s your favorite book? What book changed your life? What book have you learned the most from? The fact that most people have answers to these questions testifies to the profound power of books in our lives. Books help shape who we are—they expand our worlds, they form the architecture of our inner lives and provide a mirror for us to understand ourselves. It’s impossible to imagine living a thriving life without them. And that’s why I’m thrilled to announce the Thrive Library, where we’ll discuss books that have inspired us, moved us, encouraged us, and given us insight, solace, courage, strength and wisdom.
And because the power of books is so enduring, we’re not going to limit the conversation to current releases or whatever the hot new book of the moment is—the Thrive Library is going to be more timeless than timely. We want to revisit, rediscover and learn from the amazing and compelling stories of the past—from the classics to the underrated or undiscovered gems that should be classics. So in the Thrive Library you can find great excerpts of books both old and new. And we’ll also be featuring conversations with authors on Facebook Live and Instagram Stories (unfortunately, these will be limited only to living authors).
One of my own favorite books – one I keep on my nightstand and reach for all the time – is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, published over 1,100 years ago. It still has wisdom on every page about how to live a meaningful life in our modern age. “People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills,” he writes. “There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
Plenty of people are doing just that by reaching for books in record numbers—even for print books, reports of whose death have been greatly exaggerated. According to Publisher’s Weekly, 2016 marked the third straight year of rising print sales, with 674 million books sold in the U.S. alone.
And science has begun to validate what we’ve always known in our hearts to be true: that books have the power to truly change us. A study published in April found that reading fiction can make us more empathetic. And an earlier study found that books and stories have a similar power over children, with researchers showing that the more children are read to, the more they develop “theory of mind”—the ability to understand that others have a different mental state than you do.
And one of my favorite studies found that on pages we particularly like, we actually read “significantly slower.” That’s the feeling, when we’re reading a book we love, of stepping outside time, of disconnecting from our overly connected world. The study contrasted light, distracted reading – the sort many of us do all day – with deep reading, which, the authors, write, “may have an analog in hypnotic trance.”
We're thrilled to be partnering with Book of the Month to create a home for this rich conversation. So now we want to know, what books helped you become who you are? What books do you reach for to help you disconnect from your daily life? What books do you recommend most often to friends? What books do you find yourself taking off the bookshelf again and again? What books have helped you Thrive? What classic books should we be rediscovering? And what are you reading right now? Email Zoe at [email protected] and let us know. And join the global conversation by making the Thrive Library your hub for great books.