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Common Reader (2019-2020): This I Believe: This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women
Celebrating Four Years Of 'This I Believe'
During its four-year run on NPR, This I Believe engaged listeners in a discussion of the core beliefs that guide their daily lives. We heard from people of all walks of life — the very young and the very old, the famous and the previously unknown.
"This I Believe is an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives. Over 125,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, have been archived here on our website, heard on public radio, chronicled through our books, and featured in weekly podcasts. The project is based on the popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow."
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 personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share them with others.
Featuring many renowned contributors—including Isabel Allende, Colin Powell, Gloria Steinem, William F. Buckley Jr., Penn Jillette, Bill Gates, and John Updike—the collection also contains essays by a Brooklyn lawyer; a part-time hospital clerk in Rehoboth, Massachusetts; a woman who sells yellow pages advertising in Fort Worth, Texas; and a man who serves on Rhode Island's parole board.
The result is a stirring and provocative trip inside the minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs—and the incredibly varied ways in which they choose to express them—reveal the American spirit at its best.
“To hold this range of beliefs in the palm of your hand is as fine, as grounding, as it was hearing them first on the radio. Heartfelt, deeply cherished beliefs, doctrines for living (yet none of them doctrinaire). Ideas and ideals that nourish. You can see it in their faces, in the photos in this book. And read it in their words. I'm so proud that NPR helped carry this Edward R. Murrow tradition into a new century. And so glad to have it in print, to encounter again and again.”
"National Public Radio listeners have been moved to tears by the personal essays that constitute the series This I Believe.Created in 1951 with Edward Murrow as host, the sometimes funny, often profound, and always compelling series has been revived, according to host Jay Allison, because, once again, “matters of belief divide our country and the world.” Oral historian Studs Terkel kicks things off, and 80 personal credos follow. Essays from the original series are interleaved with contemporary essays (selected from more than 11,000 submissions) to create a resounding chorus. English professor Sara Adams avers that one should “be cool to the pizza delivery dude.” John McCain states, “I believe in honor, faith, and service.” Iranian-born writer Azar Nafisi writes, “I believe in empathy.” Jackie Robinson said, “I believe in the goodness of a free society.” Rick Moody believes in “the absolute and unlimited liberty of reading.” Appendixes offer guidelines and resources because the urge to write such declarations is contagious, and schools and libraries have been coordinating This I Believe programs, which we believe is a righteous endeavor."
“My father, Edward R. Murrow, said that "fresh ideas" from others helped him confront his own challenges. This superb collection of thought-provoking This I Believe essays, both from the new program heard on NPR and from the original 1950s series, provides fresh ideas for all of us!”
Starred Review. "In the 1950s, the Edward R. Murrow–hosted radio program This I Believe prompted Americans to briefly explain their most cherished beliefs, be they religious or purely pragmatic. Since the program’s 2005 renaissance as a weekly NPR segment, Allison (the host) and Gediman (the executive producer) have collected some of the best essays from This I Believe then and now. "Your personal credo" is what Allison calls it in the book’s introduction, noting that today’s program is distinguished from the 1950s version in soliciting submissions from ordinary Americans from all walks of life. These make up some of the book’s most powerful and memorable moments, from the surgeon whose illiterate mother changed his early life with faith and a library card to the English professor whose poetry helped him process a traumatic childhood event. And in one of the book’s most unusual essays, a Burmese immigrant confides that he believes in feeding monkeys on his birthday because a Buddhist monk once prophesied that if he followed this ritual, his family would prosper. There are luminaries here, too, including Gloria Steinem, Warren Christopher, Helen Keller, Isabel Allende, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Updike and (most surprisingly, considering the book’s more liberal bent) Newt Gingrich. This feast of ruminations is a treat for any reader."
“Reading this gives me a feeling about this country I rarely get: a very visceral sense of all the different kinds of people who are living together here, with crazily different backgrounds and experiences and dreams. Like a Norman Rockwell painting where all the people happen to be real people, and all the stories are true. It makes me feel hopeful about America, reading this. Hopeful in a way that's in short supply lately.”