This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
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This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  3,582 ratings  ·  683 reviews
An inspiring collection of the personal philosophies of a group of remarkable men and women

Based on the National Public Radio series of the same name, This I Believe features eighty essayists--from the famous to the unknown--completing thethought that begins the book's title. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs...more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2006)
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David
This seems like such a promising concept for a book - "based on the NPR series of the same name, 80 essayists - from the famous to the previously unknown - complete the thought that begins the book's title".

But the result is - despite being a bestseller - a dreadful book. If I had checked it out in a bookstore, rather than buying it on Amazon, I might have figured it out from the back cover. Here are the four 'quotes from inside' that the publishers use as a teaser:

"I believe in the goodness of...more
Leela
This print copy of essays written and read for the NPR series by the same title is sweet and lovely, diverse, and by turns light and deep. From the pizza guy to barbeque, from prominent politicians to the mom down the block, it covers a lot of ground. The effect is to generate conversations and intimacies that might otherwise never have developed. For starting conversations that you never have the time to start, for getting into the heads of people we think we know, and for stimulating personal...more
Jennifer
In my commitment to read 52 books this year, I made a list of ones I want to read, have bought to read etc. This title was one that I had borrowed from the library, since it was recommended reading from Ali Edwards during an online class I took. It's from the NPR, and it's a collection of short essays from different people. On what they believe. It was a quick read. Great food for thought.

During reading this book, I started to question my own beliefs. Not the core ones. The biblical ones, or eve...more
Danine
Jun 20, 2008 Danine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Danine by: Ellen
Like a lot people I listen to "This I Believe" segments on NPR. I am so inspired every time I hear one of these essays read aloud on the radio. I love how three words make me think about the way I see life and evaluate my own personal philosophies of life. When I found out that there was a book I made it a goal to read it.

I am a natural pessimist. This I believe. I LOVE being nice to strangers and to the people in my life. Sometimes, though, I wonder why I even bother. Does anyone care? There i...more
Mara
I really wish I had listened to this in smaller chunks. It's a lot to take in. Some of the essays were not exceptional, but others were absolutely wonderful. Topics ranged from the rule of law, love, and freedom to barbecue and jazz. And listening to this collection, rather than reading it, really does add a lot to the experience. Not to mention the opportunity to hear such voices as Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Jackie Robinson.
Deb
If you had 3 minutes to clearly state what your beliefs are, could you do it? What would you say? Would you talk about your religious beliefs, or the lessons your mother taught you that you still live by, ideas from books you've read, or the things you learned through living your life?

This collection of "personal philosophies of remarkable men and women" consists of short essays, written both in the 1950's and in the early 21st century, as part of the "This I Believe" series on NPR. The series...more
Cindy
A collection of essays from the famous and not-so-famous about their personal life philosophies, I found this to be very thought-provoking. Some essays from the original 1950s series were mixed in with the more contemporary ones, and there's even one that spans both. There are essays covering heartfelt and controversial subjects - religion, patriotism, bigotry - and there are less serious subjects, such as being nice to the pizza guy.

Here are a few selections - I'll include the author and time p...more
Nancy (NE)
This is a book based on the well known radio series by the same name. The concept arose out of a meeting between Ward Wheelock, a Philadelphia advertising exec; William Paley, the founder and CEO of CBS; Donald Thornburgh, general manager of the local Philadelphia CBS affiliate and broadcaster Edward R. Murrow. They "bemoaned the spiritual state of the nation - that 'material values were gaining and spiritual values were losing.'" This was blamed on economic instability, the shadow of war, and t...more
Gretchen
Listen to the recorded version rather than read the book, because the original pieces were written for radio and are read by the authors themselves. That was exciting--to hear the voices of Eleanor Roosevelt, Oscar Hammerstein, and even Helen Keller. I'm not surprised that the people on GoodReads who read the print version overall seem less impressed than those who listened.

One of the beauty of these pieces, it seems to me, is the instruction writers received to frame their pieces affirmatively,...more
Travis
Reading this book was a little like eating a somewhat overcooked ear of fresh corn on the cob: It still tastes ok, but you wonder with every bite how anybody can screw up something as promising as fresh corn. This compilation of essays (heavily edited, I suspect, since most of them have the same ubiquitous voice) solicits answers to the titular question from ordinary as well as highly accomplished and often famous people. And the editors didn't exactly screw them up, but they did gather together...more
Laura
I got this book from a buy-one get-one book sale at school. It was Christmas time and I wanted something uplifting to read over the two-week break. I ended up forgetting it at school so it was waiting for me in January. I began reading it but... well, I'm not sure what happened but I didn't enjoy it so I put it aside for a while.

It sat on my desk for months. Then one day, I picked it up and began to re-read. And it inspired me. I don't know what I was missing in my first attempt at reading but,...more
Dave Gaston
A tough one to rank and file, such a wide swatch of opinions from both contemporary and historical composers from all walks of life. A super idea that first became popular in the 50’s and then was reborn by NPR in the 90’s with the advent of web write ins. Each pronouncement is a maximum of 750 words. Collectively, these emotionally charged essays read more like dense, rich poetry. Imagine stuffing the outcome of a lifetime of experiences into a two page letter called, “This I Believe.” That sai...more
Kip
I enjoyed this book. I've heard a number of the essays on NPR, and I've visited the website (www.thisibelieve.org) on multiple occasions to read these "personal philosophies of remarkable men and women." This book brings a lot of the better essays together in a single volume.

There are a number of reasons why I was drawn to this book in the first place and why I found it inspiring after I finished reading it:

1) I am fascinated by the whole notion of faith or belief--what it is or isn't, how it is...more
Judith
This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman includes a delightful assortment of essays from the 1950's and the 2000's “This I Believe” radio programs. But – and it is a significant “but” – my opinion is colored by the fact that I needed to read a large number of these brief essays, I wanted to learn a variety of ways to approach the task of writing such essays, and to judge how the book would facilitate a reading and writing program...more
Brian Kah
Summary:
This I Believe features the essays of eighty people. Those people range from the completely unknown to those among the ranks of the rich and famous. This I Believe was first thought of on on radio show and NPR in the 1950s. The idea was for people to write an essay telling the radio station about something that they believe in their life, and something that they felt very strongly about, which was a value in their family life or something which was influenced by someone else had taught t...more
Alyssa
Overall, the book was an interesting read. It was fascinating to read the perspectives of such different people and see the underlying theme in all of their essays. At the same time, I had a problem with this theme. I understand that the book was supposed to be inspiring, and there were several essays that did this for me. Overall, though, I really would have liked to see a little more variety. I understand that this is the equivalent of asking for a completely different book, since one of the p...more
Dus Nazarian
Well in this book there is no story the subject changes every 3 pages, every chapter is a different subject. Nothing goes together so if your looking for a book that excites you and makes not put down the book I suggest to not get this book. There is nothing for me to spoil and wouldn't even remember the book because it was practically remembering 60 stories smashed into a book. The only descent thing about the book and background about it is that all of the stories are from a radio show and th...more
Plainsboro Public Library
Going into the real world can be harder than most young adults anticipate. This I Believe is a compilation of essays, old and new, written by some of the most noteworthy people such Bill Gates, Helen Keller, John McCain, Jackie Robinson, and Albert Einstein. There are around 80 essays, but most essays are under ten pages. While reading each essay, you can see how the writer revives his or her spirit and discovers the beliefs by which he or she lives. Glimpse into the lives of those you have only...more
Colette
Two great quotes from a writer and a scientist.

"I believe in the absolute and unlimited liberty of reading. I believe in wandering through the stacks and picking out the first thing that strikes me. I believe in choosing books based on the dust jacket. I believe in reading books because others dislike them or find them dangerous. I believe in choosing the hardest book imaginable. I believe in reading up on what others have to say about this difficult book, and then making up my own mind." - Rick...more
Glenna
This is based on a radio show that was started in the 50's. A very interesting collection of essays about what different people believe. I listened to this "book" over the last several months. (a few at a time -- It's one of those things that can overwhelm you all at once). Even though I didn't agree with all of the beliefs, it was a great way to make one think about what their own beliefs are.
Faythe Swanson
I enjoyed this book from cover to cover & was sad when it came to an end! I find it interesting to discover what other people & why (life experience). I came to a point in my life where I began to challenge myself, "What do I believe? & I mean REALLY believe - not what OTHER people TELL me to believe! I'm still on my journey & loving the process. I enjoy reading about others' journeys, too.
Nancy
I loved this. It was delightful to learn what people believe and why. The span of their topics ranged from politics to religion and some I had to go over again and made me want to reflect my own beliefs and how I felt about things. Some of them were told in the voice of the person like Eleanor Roosevelt. One of my favorites had to do with going to funerals.
Carrie
Apr 23, 2014 Carrie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
AMAZING! INSPIRING! THOUGHT-PROVOKING! I truly enjoyed reading "This I Believe." I can't remember now how I found out about this book... maybe Amazon recommended it because I bought "The Moment" edited by Larry Smith... anyway, I had no idea what a journey I was in for when I purchased this book. And reading it has really challenged me to think about what it is that I believe. What have I come up with? Well, the short of it, the start of my own personal essay would be: "I believe that books ar...more
Amber
A good pick-me-up, and possibly something of interest to young high schoolers, maybe even middle schoolers, who are on the beginning of their journey to self. Pieces a tad too short to offer much more than pithy insight, and the selections very biased towards one kind of belief (American Protestant Christian) in a collection that claims to be much more diverse and universal than it really is. This collection of stories serves less to give a broad and thoughtful insight into the human condition a...more
Sharon Hardin
I enjoyed this book, a collection of short essays by people of diverse backgrounds, ages, professions, and passions. The requirements to keep the essays short, to state beliefs as positives, rather than negatives, and the diversity of contributors from the 50's (when Edward R. Murrow hosted the radio show that featured such essays) and the current decade made each selection an interesting snippet of a person's life. One essay was written by a 16-year-old in the 50's and the next was written by h...more
Shannon
With essays from Temple Grandin, Gloria Steinem, and Brian Greene, I thought I would really enjoy this compilation. I didn't. It contains pretentious, self-indulgent rubbish. Newt Gingrich authored the greatest read. Need I say more?
Steven
The book This I Believe is made up of a bunch of people sharing life lessons and what they believe in. Some of these people are famous and successful like Bill Gates and others are some of the greatest minds of all time like Albert Einstein. But others are just average people like you and me who want to share their beliefs.

I did not like this book because some of the beliefs I thought were pointless and I really didn't enjoy reading them but others were very inspirational. I do not recommend th...more
Tonya Rivas-rios
I dare you to read all the stories and NOT shed one tear. I dare you.
Jennifer Hurley-coughlin
Not usually an ardent fan of the essay, this compilation had me glued. I was struck with how many unique philosophies with which I could identify. From Einstein to Jackie Robinson to a simple 16 year old high school student, these essays crystalize what is important to human beings. I have marked several essays as must reads for my students within my English class. While we have given our students a similar assignment for years, these examples and instructions truly simplify how to relate your o...more
Jessica S.
I think you have to be a certain type of person to enjoy this collection of essays—-an open-minded optimist maybe? I’ve always been a sucker for love/truth/hope conquering the cynicism of the world and would like to believe that the rich and powerful contributors that I always took to be a-holes are actually good people with good intentions.

Some of the essays are okay, some are better than okay, but most are extraordinarily beautiful. I'm always filled with envy and amazement at those who can p...more
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Jay Allison is one of public radio's most honored producers. He has produced hundreds of nationally broadcast documentaries and features for radio and television. His work has earned him the duPont-Columbia and five Peabody Awards, and he was the 1996 recipient of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding contributions to public radio, the industry's highest...more
More about Jay Allison...
This I Believe 2 This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women Lo que mueve mi vida: Testimonios de grandes personas This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

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“In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn't been good vs. evil. It's hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good vs. doing nothing. -Deirdre Sullivan” 16 likes
“Beliefs are choices. No one has authority over your personal beliefs. Your beliefs are in jeopardy only when you don't know what they are.” 9 likes
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