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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

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,549 Ratings  ·  759 Reviews
"A welcome change from the sloganeering, political mudslinging and products of spin doctors."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

Based on the NPR series of the same name, This I Believe features eighty Americans—from the famous to the unknown—completing the thought that the book's title begins. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own persona
Paperback, 281 pages
Published August 21st 2007 by Picador (first published October 3rd 2005)
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Read and respond to these essays chosen by the groups:

Be Cool to the Pizza Dude pg 7

In Giving I connect with Others pg 13

The Hardest Work you will…more

Read and respond to these essays chosen by the groups:

Be Cool to the Pizza Dude pg 7

In Giving I connect with Others pg 13

The Hardest Work you will ever Do pg 17

Unleasing the Power of Creativity pg 71

The Connection between Strangers pg 81

An Athlete of God pg 84

A Grown Up Barbie pg 103

The Power of Love to Transform and Heal pg 144

Tomorrow will be a Better Day pg 194

Free Minds and Hearts at Work pg 197
Hanadi what is the main idea for the hardest work you will ever do?
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Oct 16, 2007 Leela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 20, 2008 Danine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2015 Mara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
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.
Dec 26, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
JG (The Introverted Reader)
In a collection of short essays, men and women from all walks of life share their defining beliefs.

I listen to NPR in between audiobook downloads but I seem to only be in the car for the news and Marketplace, so I've never heard any of these essays. I enjoyed them immensely.

Ranging from funny to serious, from heartfelt to tongue-in-cheek, there's a wide range of personal voices and creeds to be found in this collection. I particularly liked that essays from the first run of the series, hosted by
Sep 20, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it
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
Jun 23, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
In 2010 all the new freshman at Florida State University received this book as part of our orientation pack. The point, I think, was that FSU wanted us all to read it before school started in September. I doubt any of us did. It took be 5 years to get to it, and honestly, I think it's more potent in my life now than it would have been back when I was 18.

The book is a selection of stories, lessons, and musings of what people believe. I enjoyed many of the chapters, to name a few: "An Ideal of Se
Tricia Nociti
Apr 16, 2015 Tricia Nociti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading these essays. Written by common citizens as well as easily recognized people of fame, they tell of the personal philosophies that these people have developed in their lives. Some are religious, some are political, some are very deep and philosophical, and some are light and funny, but all are worth the time spent reading them. I read the book as I read a novel, but honestly, you could just sit and pick it up whenever you have a couple of minutes and cherry pick an essay ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, non-fiction, essays
Based on the NPR program of the same name, this collection features 80 essays written by people both famous and not detailing the core beliefs that define them. Some of these essays were light, funny, and whimsical, while others were deeply spiritual, philiosophical, and politically charged; one even brought me and the co-worker who was listening with me to tears. However, there was not a single one that failed. Each told a unique story about the individual who wrote it.

I had the pleasure of lis
Nancy (NE)
Dec 01, 2013 Nancy (NE) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 15, 2011 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jan 04, 2014 Travis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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,
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
Aug 06, 2013 Kip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. I've heard a number of the essays on NPR, and I've visited the website ( 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
Sep 16, 2008 Caroline rated it did not like it
I received this as a promotional copy with the idea I use it to teach College Writing. Granted, the premise can work for smaller assignments, but the idea of using this as a model for writers seems highly flawed, given how surface-level and bland most of the writing is. Most essays seem selected based on WHO wrote them rather than the quality of writing, and some of the writers take for granted that anyone cares about hearing what they believe in the first place.

Love: Eve Ensler's "The Power an
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
Jun 24, 2015 Christie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you listen to NPR, you've probably stumbled upon the This I Believe program. They select personal philosophies of men and women and put them on the air. When the idea began it was going to feature famous people and the super successful, but a letter from one female listener made the producers realize that we all have philosophies and they are all worthy of being shared. Well, if you can manage to pare it down to the appropriate size for the radio segment.

"I believe in my fellow citizens. Our
Brian Kah
Aug 28, 2014 Brian Kah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2014 Alyssa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2014 Dus Nazarian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2015 Tori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I hadn't intended to read this book, but a friend loaned it to me, saying her husband absolutely loved it. So - I've picked it up and read it on and off between other books, and loved it also!

This is subtitled: "The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women", and is fascinating. There are about 100 3 page essays by famous and "regular" people, who responded to a question "what do you believe with absolute certainty?" some people mentioned God, but many did not. Many detailed kindnesses o
Melissa Aguirre
Jan 24, 2016 Melissa Aguirre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very easy read. This compilation of personal life lessons of various individuals was inspiring. It motivated me to take a moment and ponder on my own life lessons I've been blessed with.
Apr 30, 2014 Colette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 06, 2015 Lanier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With a Foreword by one of my all-time favorites, Studs Terkel, this book has dozens of great short gems from well-known and obscure essayists, with surprises from Penn Jilliette's "There is No God" of the Magical Duo, as well as Hellen Keller's, "The Light of a Brighter Day", "The Benefits of Restlessness and Jagged Edges", by Kay Redfield Jamison or "Living Live with 'Grace and Elegant Treeness'" by Ruth Kamps are all insightful and "A Daily Walk Just to Listen", by Susan Cosio, where she write ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Glenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 23, 2012 Faythe Swanson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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Play Book Tag: This I Believe - Jay Allison, 4 Stars 4 13 Feb 04, 2016 06:07PM  
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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...

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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.” 11 likes
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