At seventeen, I was a well of fantasies with no bottom. I had no real purpose or direction. I thought about pursuing a career in music, about writing books, about dating girls. But where to put my time? My youthful confidence seemed to be evaporating under the pressure of picking one thing to devote my life to. There were things I thought I wanted, but how could I be sure? Worse, I thought it was wrong even to want these things—but I couldn’t help it.
By twenty three, I had a job at a Nashville recording studio, a beautiful wife, and a solid sense of self—and self-worth. I also had a different set of ideas, a different way of looking at the world and evaluating people, including myself. All that thanks to one book.
How I Found the Book That Changed My Life
At the ripe old age of fifteen, for the first time in my life, I began reading the Bible. Growing up, art had always been my bible: song lyrics, movie quotes, great fiction. But when I began to think more deeply about my purpose in life, I also sought deeper wisdom.
Some of my friends already seemed to have everything figured out. I often felt like I alone was wasting time, flailing about. I knew I was intelligent and could do pretty much anything I put my mind to. That was part of the problem, I thought—too many options. . . .
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1. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 50th anniversary edition (New York: Signet, 1957), 13–14.
2. Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 21.
3. Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 24.
4. Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 24–25.
5. Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 934.
6. Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 12.