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GRE Article of the Month – November 2014

What Book Changed Your Mind?
The Chronicle of Higher Education


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When someone finds out that I’m an avid reader, that person often asks me what my favorite book is. Typically, I become lost amidst the swirling cosmos that represents the books I’ve read in the last twenty years. More difficult yet is the question, what book changed your mind? Luckily, I’ve been asked this only a few times, and will usually spend a week trying to coming up with a succinct response—unsuccessfully, of course.

This month’s selection is just that: the onerous question above writ large. To wit, twelve eminent scholars weigh in on the book that has most influenced their thinking, and they do so both succinctly and compellingly. What really makes this fascinating reading is not so much the diversity of subjects and views expressed but the intensity and intimacy with which each writer brings to the subject—you can tell that the shift in thinking brought about by a book was seismic.

In terms of vocabulary, there are many words, scattered over the ten pages of writing (this is not a quick read!). But the reason I’m choosing this article is for the density of ideas. Be warned: this is not easy reading, but navigating the ideas in this article will help make the subjects in the GRE Reading Comprehension section seem less formidable.

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