8 Elite Daily Editors Share The Book That Changed Their Lives

by Nikhita Mahtani

We all have a book that changed us forever, or shaped who we are.

Maybe it was that textbook you read as a college student that finally pointed you toward the career of your dreams. Or maybe it was a childhood fantasy book that really cemented your love of reading.

Maybe it was a biography of someone you really admire. Or maybe it was a random story you checked out of the library one day, not realizing it would change the way you look at the world.

Either way, it found you, and you know your life would have turned out VERY different without it.

Since all of us at Elite Daily are pretty much obsessed with words -- which makes sense, given that we all work in media – we've rounded up the books that have made a difference in our lives and changed our perceptions.

Who knows? Maybe one will change yours too.

1. The "Harry Potter" Series by JK Rowling


Harry Potter series, $52, Amazon 

This lovable series about the famous boy wizard got not one, but TWO staff members' approval. So naturally, it had to come first.

Entertainment Writer Anna Menta says,

'Harry Potter' pretty much defined my brand for my whole career, and made me some of my closest friends. I still talk to the people from my college's 'Harry Potter' club every day.

Junior Editor Becca van Sambeck started reading them when she was 6 years old, and says they were the books that actually made her love reading. She says,

I learned how to read fast because I had to sneak the books away at night, since all of my older sisters were reading the books at the same time. Plus, Hermione is an amazing role model for young girls. She teaches you that it's actually really cool, and really important, to read books and care about learning.

2. "Full Frontal Feminism" by Jessica Valenti


Full Frontal Feminism, $12, Amazon 

Jessica Valenti, founder of the Feministing blog, writes about feminism in a way that's easy and clear to understand.

Her facts about the government and the way entire laws have been created in order to make life difficult for many women might be hard to hear, but they're crucial in order to realize sexism is most DEFINITELY something to be fought... even in this day and age.

Junior Editor Kelli Boyle says of the book,

I read it as my first book for my women's studies class in my senior year of college. It was super inspiring and taught me feminism is the shit – it's common sense – whereas before then, I thought it was anything but. It changed my outlook on everything, and I've never been the same.

3. "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie


Codependent No More, $9, Amazon 

Melody Beattie takes self-help to a new level with this fresh take on being alone. She explains what "co-dependency" really is, and how to recognize when you're relying on another person too much – be it a family member, friend or significant other.

Body And Mind Writer Rosebud Baker says,

I recommend it to seriously every woman and man on the planet. It helped me get out of a relationship with a human black hole, and I really learned what I love about my solitude and how to spend time alone productively. My entire life shifted course, in career, health and eventually my relationships. It basically taught me the art of not giving a fuck what everyone else thought, how to put myself first and how to avoid being disappointed by others by not relying on them to be happy or feel confident.

4. "How to Grow Up: A Memoir" by Michelle Tea


How To Grow Up: A Memoir, $10, Amazon 

Michelle Tea both breaks your heart and makes you laugh out loud as you follow her through her difficulties as a struggling writer in San Francisco, from hangovers and dead-end jobs to constantly being broke AF and wrestling with her heart.

Senior Sex And Dating Writer Zara Barrie says,

I read it in one sitting, and it really helped bridge the gap between my younger self and who I am now. I felt like Michelle Tea helped me let go of the rebellious, alcoholic, 20-year-old Zara and helped me embrace the equally rebellious –but wildly healthy and happy – 30-year-old Zara. I felt like I was sitting with a wise, cool, girl-witch who was giving me the courage to leave the dark side and step into the fucking LIGHT.

5. "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner


The Sound and the Fury, $9, Amazon 

This is the heartbreaking story of the Compton family, stretched over 30 years. It employs a number of narrative techniques, and the memorable characters stay with you long after the tale is over.

Identity and Culture Head Editor Brittany Leitner credits this book as the one that cemented her choice to pursuing writing as a career.

It was the first story I read with multiple point of views, and I couldn't believe how changing the appearance of text could make the words mean something different. I'm thankful we were assigned that book in high school because I found out early what my path in life would be.

6. "I Never Knew That About New York" by Christopher Winn


I Never Knew That About New York, $12, Amazon 

Christopher Winn's little book of trivia may not be what you'd expect when you think of books that changed people's lives, but Executive Editor Nina Ruggiero relates an emotional way it changed her:

I read it cover-to-cover to my grandmother over a long and very special period of time in my life. She loved to read and is very much responsible for my own appreciation of literature, but she had trouble seeing well enough to get through a book on her own toward the end of her life. Learning new things about the city she grew up in (and the one I live in) was a bonding experience I feel so fortunate to have had with her, and to me proves the power of a good book. Plus, it changed the way I look at the city around me, as I now make an effort to continue learning and pay attention to the smallest details, even as I sprint to work or ride the gross subway.

7. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee


To Kill a Mockingbird, $7, Amazon 

Harper Lee's groundbreaking novel deals with issues of racial inequality and rape in a way that was unique at the time (and in some ways, still is today).

Copy Editor Danielle Valente admits that as cliched as it might seem to list the classic, to name any other book would be a lie:

We were assigned this book in the 8th grade and I completely loved not only reading it, but talking about it in class, writing papers about it and so on. In a sense, this was the first time I really acknowledged my love for writing and reading. From then on, that love shaped not only my education, but my career. It really kickstarted everything I've become.