One book that I can say really changed my life in a very direct way is "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. If you have not read it yet, I will try my very best not to give spoilers, but just stick to telling you the one big life lesson I learned from it and how it has since then affected my life's most important decisions.
I read "The Alchemist" one afternoon, in a single sitting, at a Barnes&Noble in California. It's a rather short book so I was going to read a few pages and then buy it to read later. Two hours later as I have finished reading the book, my life was changed for ever.
You see earlier that year, I packed my suitcases and moved from New York to California. I wanted a certain job and envisioned a certain lifestyle. California seemed just the kind of place that would enable it. This was also in the time after September 11 attacks in New York City and I decided to just go for it and make my big dream come true. This was also during the time that I thought adventures can ONLY be had OUTSIDE wherever it is I lived. Surely they required brave action and plane tickets. So there I went to California, where grass was greener, the sun was brighter and the sea more sparkly. And guess what. It was! California was absolute beauty of a dream come true. It was all I have expected and I was simply in love with myself for making this dream happen for myself. I went jogging in the morning through the fields. I went to the beach. I went hiking, I made fun new friends. I drove to see new cities like Santa Barbara and San Diego and Laguna Beach. My life was all of the sudden beautiful and exciting just like I always dreamed of.
There was however just one tiny thing that din't quite go as I planned... The dream job I wanted at THE company I wanted to work at didn't happen. I didn't have experience for the position and coupled with the fact that I randomly moved across the country made me a very risky hire. I got rejected at 3 similar companies for the position I wanted and my 1st choice company did not even respond to any of my pursuits of them.
That day I found myself at Barnes&Noble with a decision to make: accept any job just to stay in California, my dream world, or go back to New York and try to get THE job I wanted at my 1st choice company. I was confused. To accept just any job did not seem like a dream come true, it seemed like a compromise, and not wanting to compromise on ANY part of my dream was exactly the reason I left New York. Alas, I was running out of my savings and paying a monthly apartment rent in LA was not going to be possible for much longer so I had to make a choice...
...To be continued!