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Who's Reading These Books?

It's been heartwarming to get letters from readers of both WDILTP and WSIDWML.

Why Do I Love These People? has been shared among siblings, shared among friends - no surprise there. It's brought people closer to their families, but it's also given many inspiration to break from a certain member of their family. WDILTP has also been used by some psychotherapists to help their client-patients. (It's also been a common gift from patients to their therapists.) Many ministers and pastors have quoted from the book in their Sunday sermons. And it's even being taught in writing classes, used as models to help students tell their own family story.

What Should I Do With My Life? is used by far more than professionals at a mid-career reckoning point. It's widely read by those facing college graduation, and it's been assigned to incoming freshman at some big universities like UMKC, Rutgers, Tenn State, and West Texas A&M. One New York State Supreme Court Justice used it to counsel his son upon graduation. But it's also picked up by those recently diagnosed with cancer who have been given a short time to live. Many National Guardsmen have read the book after they return from their year tour, and one doctor contacted me from an Air Force base in Germany - he was giving the book to soldiers who had lost a limb (to help them accept the inevitable changes in their life). Two famous actresses have read the book to help them understand the lives of regular people (Hah!!!), and one 17-year-old homeless youth in Denver was inspired by the book during the time he was getting off the streets. Housewives read it as they contemplated reentering the workforce after years caring for their children at home. A surprising number of retirees pass the book around, as a call to find a meaningful purpose in their retirement years. Many churches assigned it for Sunday school bible study. These are all audiences I never imagined in my wildest dreams would be reading my words.

From 2005-2006, Ashley Merryman and I wrote columns for Some of our favorite essays are below, or you can jump right to a complete index of all essays via this link.