Of the events that I could reflect upon that have shaped my life there are several I could write about, but only one has a unique back-story.  As opposed to what people usually write about as changing their lives love, family, travel etc… my event is different.  The event that I chose that changed me revolves around…wait for it…a book.  I know that in today’s culture finding life change from a book is the modern equivalent of obtaining life change by watching grass grow, but that’s what happened to me.


In middle school I had an assignment to find an important historical figure to write a report on and do a presentation of their life achievements.  I didn’t have any idea of who to do my report on and was disenchanted with the public figures my teacher presented to me.  While searching for a biography for my report I stumbles upon a small faded neon yellow book that had Luther Burbank Plant Magician stamped on its side.  When I decided to read it I learned of a man who became an adopted son of California, went from rags to riches, and gave the world the agriculture market it knows today.


Luther Burbank was like no other historical figure I had ever known before.  He was a man who lived for his work and only found fame and fortune because of his works brilliance, not because of his quest for it.  I have always sought knowledge because of its power as a weapon and I used it to my full advantage.  Burbank showed me another way, the strength of having a weapon by choosing not to use it. One memorable scene from his biography was when Burbank needed money from his research and he used his brilliant mind for profit.  He  turned hundred of one type of fruit tree to another type through the process of grafting.  This was a process that he perfected and then sold to a banker for a huge sum of money.  To me this was a change from men performing their duty in hope of future recognition or for their own benefit.  He did this in the name of the common good. In taking pleasure from his dedication to his work.


Upon finishing Luther Burbank’s biography I had learned about a man who didn’t seek fame, fortune, or popularity and who did nothing to try and keep them after they were obtained. Burbank’s life changed the way I looked at the world. No longer did I see men of change as exclusively to figures such as FDR and Stalin. Now there was a space for a man who gave everything he had into what he did and did it well. The mission of Burbank’s life, changing plants to help humanity, moved me. Because of Burbank’s life I now had an example of a new role model one who cared more about achieving something for the common good than finding fame.

wereeeee wereeeee
26-30, M
9 Responses Aug 29, 2006

Visited Luther Burbank's home in Santa Rosa Ca last year.

In deed a great story, thanks for sharing, cos I had never heard of Burbank till I read your post. We all owe a lot to him.

I started reading again at the urging of my aunt. There are so many books and so little time. Do you read for pure entertainment or for life lessons.. one note if the book is not entertaining I find it hard to glean anything from it of value.

Growing up I read all the Nurse Nancy series. I went to Nursing school at age 19. I always wanted to be a nurse and after 34 yrs. I am still glad I made it.

I had a similar experience. I began the 'Sue Barton, Student Nurse' series in middle school and went into training myself. These books were so real to me, especially as I already knew this was what I wanted to do with my life, and it was like having it happen sooner than expected. They were so well writen, that I think they even helped me over some rough patches during training, which can be a very lonely time.

i love books and ur right

I agree books change a persons life. I love learning life's lessons from stories about other people. I'm glad I am not the only one.

An inspiring story.<br />
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For more about him see: <br />

Fantastic story. It's a shame that people who do good works for the sake of the common good do not get nearly as much recognition as the people who perform ridiculous stunts for the media, but contribute nothing to society.