What causes people to change?

by phil on Monday Jun 11, 2012 3:53 PM

I'm re-publishing my first book on Amazon's Kindle. I first created it in 2008, back before Kindles and iPads, and I am now re-introducing it to a new audience at a much lower pricepoint: $2.99 (It's free to "borrow" for the next 75 days if you're an Amazon Prime customer).

Re-publishing has put me in touch with the reasons I created the book in the first place. It really comes down to two things I'm very interested in:

  1. What makes people change - Ever since I was 14 or so, I've always wondered what makes people change. How does someone grow? How do you change your patterns? Is it even possible? I felt that by answering these questions, I could find the secret to controlling my destiny.

  2. Spontaneous Internet threads - I've been reading on-line forums regularly since the days of Plastic.com and Slashdot. I've always been astounded by the rare forum thread that bursts into an outpouring of emotion and literary-quality self-expression. Half of the wonderment is in the idea that it emerged out of nowhere, not dictated by any one individual's will. The other half is in my actual pleasure in reading quality stories.

Both of these interests converged when I discovered the Life-Altering Experiences thread on MetaFilter. It's still one of MetaFilter's most popular threads. I read every story, and curated my favorite ones. I then got in contact with the authors and got permission to re-publish their stories. The result is my book Life-Altering Experiences: How One Question Tapped into the Soul of MetaFilter. It contains 56 stories about moments in childhood that changed each writer's life trajectory in one way or another.

Hopefully by reading them as a whole, you may get a sense of what exactly constitutes a life-altering experience.

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