National Reading Month kicks off with Dr. Seuss’ birthday at the beginning of March, and we encourage you to celebrate by sitting down & enjoying a good book, reading to or with your children,  or joining a local book club – or even start your own! Our staff is full of avid readers, and we regularly read & discuss books as a team; past reads include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThink & Grow Rich, as well as Dr. Seuss’ own Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and we will be starting Brendon Buchard’s The Motivation Manifesto later this month. We asked our staff, “What book most influenced you & why?” Check out everyone’s responses below, and be sure tell us about your most influential book in the comments!


Jodie Hook, RSVP General Manager: Similarly to Jeff, I haven’t always been much of a reader. It wasn’t until I picked up Little House on the Prairie in middle school that I came to love reading. The series is full of adventure, trials, and triumph, and within its pages I found a new hobby. As an adult, I now read any time I get a chance: during my lunch break, after the kids are asleep, during whatever rare quiet moments I can find, I spend them with a book. I hope to instill the same love of books into my kids – I already love the Harry Potter series & would enjoy sharing the magic of Hogwarts with them.


Caitlin Tuohy, RSVP Senior Graphic Designer: My mom read The Little Engine That Could to me as a child, and I’ve carried with me the message of never giving up ever since. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s the story of a train whose engine stops working while carrying toys to little boys and girls. The engine tried to keep going but it couldn’t, so the toys ask other trains that pass by if they will help pull their train over the mountain – all of them refuse. Then one little blue train that wasn’t very big at all decided to help, and did everything possible to get the bigger engine over the mountain so the children could have food and toys. The little blue engine famously chugs “I think I can, I think I can” as it helps the larger train over the mountain – and even now I find myself thinking the same thing when work or life puts their own mountains in my way.


Syd Miles, RSVP Graphic Designer: I’m a graphic designer, so I suppose it makes sense that a graphic novel (A long-form comic book. -Ed.) left its impression on me! Star Wars: Blood Ties: A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett is the first issue in the Star Wars: Blood Ties series. In the book, a father teaches his son (well, his clone) to be fearless by exposing the boy to dangerous things at a very young age. Though that would probably be considered pretty horrible parenting in our galaxy, I actually found it inspiring. I really like the idea of putting yourself in situations that may be scary, only to come out stronger in the end. I think you have to do that sometimes to grow as a person – as Boba Fett learns, you just have to face your Balyegs.


Renee Pugh, RSVP Administrative Assistant: Long before the American Girl Company became famous for their diverse doll collection, they published multiple book series featuring young girls coming of age during important historical moments, such as the American Revolution or World War II. Each series featured 6 books, and each book covered a different moment in the character’s life, such as her birthday, or Christmas for example. The books always included a small historical appendix at the end, which detailed the finer points of life during that time period. For whatever reason, the Victorian-Era Samantha series has stuck with me all these years, and instilled within me an appreciation not only for history, but also for progress, and an understanding of the importance of moving forward into a future that may be mysterious & unknown, but ultimately rewarding.


Heather Craaybeek, RSVP Regional Sales Manager: Quiet moments of solitude are especially rare in my life, as a busy working mom whose family is still settling into our new house, so my favorite way to escape and get away is to pick up a great book for nothing more than the pleasure.  I prefer vivid books, full of details and descriptions that let my imagination run wild & “visit” places I’ve never been before (or places that only exist in words artfully created by a deft wordsmith).  My favorite is Alice Sebold’s best-selling thriller The Lovely Bones (later made into a movie of the same name). She writes so vividly that the images still haunt me, years after my first read-through – I still can’t drive past a cornfield without getting goosebumps!


Jeff Vice, RSVP Regional Sales Manager: Like many kids and teenagers, I really didn’t have much of an interest in reading, and it wasn’t until college that I discovered I actually really liked it. Up until then, I always imagined that reading business books would be really boring and dry, but one of my professors suggested starting with Harvey Makay’s Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. It turned out to be the right prescription for someone like me who didn’t have much interest in reading such books. The topic was simple and Makay’s writing style is entertaining and witty. I went on to read his other books, and eventually graduated to more complicated and technical readings through the years.  In fact, my reading preference is now business titles over any other category, and it’s all thanks to Swim With the Sharks.

Contributed by RSVP Staff.