Books That Inspire 2011

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Ken Kesey

R.P. McMurphy (played by Jack Nicholson in the movie) is one of the great protagonists in contemporary fiction. McMurphy's personality inspires his fellow mental institution inmates to question what it means to be crazy ("You're not a goddamn looney now, boy. You're a fisherman!"). The story highlights the power of the individual example -- one person's actions -- to instigate positive change in others and for the common good. Better to accept the great challenges of life ("But I tried, though…I sure as hell did that much, now, didn't I?") and to fail than to never have struggled at all.

Zach Messitte
College of International Studies