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It was the summer of 2002. You were sitting at your grandma's pool, debating breaking up with your boyfriend and reading the book that would change your life forever. Sound familiar? Here, nine women on the work that's made the greatest impact on them. 

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me talk pretty one day david sedaris
Cover: Little, Brown and Company; Background: Twenty20

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

“Anything by David Sedaris. I was first introduced to him via the classic Me Talk Pretty One Day and was quickly hooked. He taught me that it's OK to fail and to laugh while you’re failing.” –Stephanie P.

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a little life hanya yanagihara
Cover: Anchor; Background: Twenty20

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

"Even though this is the most emotional book I've ever read, I would read it again in a heartbeat. It touches upon many difficult topics that I've come face-to-face with in my life and it really opens your eyes to what other people might be dealing with, even if they seem totally fine on the outside." –Rachel G.

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bossypants tina fey
Cover: Little Brown; Background: Twenty20

Bossypants by Tina Fey

“It’s kinda cliché, but Bossypants was life changing for me because it made me realize my worth in the workplace.” –Greta H.

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brave enough cheryl strayed
Cover: Knopf; Background: Twenty20

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

“This is more of a collection of quotes, but it made a memorable impact on my life. Someone gave it to me after graduation when I was going through a hard time, and each quote deeply resonated with me. I still go back and read it to this day!" –Ali B.

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ido in autismland
Cover: Sharon Kedar; Background: Twenty20

Ido in Autismland by Ido Kedar

“This is a book written by a boy who has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is nonverbal. People assumed he had no mental capacity, but he could type, which allowed him to 'break out of his prison' by finally being able to express himself through writing. In addition to being an amazing story, it inspired me to pursue my current career path.” –Maggie M.

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harry potter and the sorcerers stone jk rowling
Cover: Thorndike Press; Background: Twenty20

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“The whole Harry Potter series, really, but especially the first book. It came out when I was about the same age as the characters, and reading about a bunch of kids my age who also kind of felt like they kind of didn’t belong was really comforting.” –Emily C.

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mind gym gary mack
Cover: McGraw-Hill Education; Background: Twenty20

Mind Gym by Gary Mack and David Casstevens

“Someone gave me this book after I tore my (first) ACL in high school. It’s all about how your mental game is just as important as your physical game, and how you need to build 'mental muscle' to succeed. It was really important for me to read when I wasn't in a great mental place.” –Caroline O.

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year of yes shonda rhimes
Cover: Simon & Schuster; Background: Twenty20

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

“My love of this book can be boiled down to one quote: ‘Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.’” –Charlotte F.

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never let me go kazuo ishiguro
Cover: Vintage; Background: Twenty20

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

“I’ve written about this book what seems like a million times, and I have no plans on stopping. The plot is super-weird—it imagines what life would be like if you were a clone, born to have your organs harvested in early adulthood—but its themes of friendship, approaching others with an open, nonjudgmental heart and loss (of life and of innocence) are ones that have stayed with me for years.” –Sarah S.

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