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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 ·  4,958 Ratings  ·  807 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 the thought that begins the book's title. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Henry Holt and Co. (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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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
Jan 18, 2010 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
Oct 16, 2007 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
May 23, 2008 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
Dec 10, 2008 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 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
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Tricia Nociti
Apr 16, 2015 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
Sep 16, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-challenge
This is definitely a book to read in small chunks - a few essays at a time. Only then is it possible to really digest what each author is saying as they try to articulate their core beliefs. In fact, there are some I want to go back and reread, pulling out the parts that really stood out to me. Some essays are incredibly powerful, others insightful. They range from well-written to wandering, trite to thoughtful, sobering to funny...but all are something to respect, as it's no easy task to try to ...more
Jul 12, 2011 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,
Dec 22, 2007 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
Dec 04, 2008 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
Nancy (NE)
Nov 13, 2013 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
Jan 15, 2016 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
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
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,
May 12, 2015 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
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly inspirational and enjoyable to read, and especially helpful for writing my own This I Believe :)
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: obom-candidates
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
Dec 06, 2012 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 14, 2012 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.
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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?
Matt McCullough
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing stories, gave fresh perspectives!!
Tonya Rivas-rios
I dare you to read all the stories and NOT shed one tear. I dare you.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend the audio version. Hearing each person's beliefs in their own words is extremely powerful.
Melissa Aguirre
Jan 08, 2016 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.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church-books
Any book which causes me to look inward and think about my beliefs is valuable. And this is a book does that again and again. Essayists, from the unknown shopkeeper to Einstein and Bill Gates, write about what their core values are, what they truly believe in. Topics are varied, from beliefs in barbecue, the power of love to help heal, belief in God or belief in no God, belief in spending time in nature, or in taking the subway. What we believe in seems to define the person whom we become. This ...more
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Play Book Tag: This I Believe - Jay Allison, 4 Stars 4 14 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...
“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.” 12 likes
More quotes…