About This Book


Twenty years later, Chicken Soup for the Soul and its stories are still changing lives! This special twentieth anniversary collection celebrates the power of storytelling. Readers share their personal, inspiring stories about how a Chicken Soup for the Soul story made a difference in their lives, paired with the life-changing story itself. It's a double dose of inspiration!

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Five Simple Tips for Changing Your Life

Inspired by Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader’s Choice 20th Anniversary Edition By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Amy Newmark

Chicken Soup for the Soul has been sharing stories that change lives for two decades! Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader’s Choice 20th Anniversary Edition is a special collection that truly demonstrates the power of the written word. Readers share their personal, inspiring stories about how a Chicken Soup for the Soul story made a difference in their lives, and their new story is paired with the original life-changing story that inspired them. Here are five simple tips for changing your life, drawn from the book.

1. A smile is like a boomerang. When Sophfronia Scott moved to New York City, she learned to keep her face neutral, so as to stay safe from the dangers of the city. Years later, she read Chicken Soup for the Soul. One story, "The Smile" by Hanoch McCarty, changed Sophfronia’s view on smiling forever. It retold a story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. In this story, possibly based on Saint-Exupéry’s own experience as a captured fighter pilot in the Spanish Civil War, a simple smile saved a soldier’s life by making a connection with his jailer. Hanoch called it "that magic moment when two souls recognize each other." Sophfronia decided to start smiling again. One day, she smiled at a harried-looking crossing guard and he smiled back! "That’s it. That’s all it took. I knew I had made a difference in his day just by that one ‘magic moment’ of connection," Sophfronia writes. "My life is so much brighter, so much more joyous, that I can’t imagine how I lived without such light."

2. Live in the moment. When Brittany Perry read the poem "The Play’s the Thing" in Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, she realized she and Jayne had very similar lives: constantly cleaning, cooking and doing other chores at the expense of playing with their children. As she read the poem, she started to cry and promised to change her ways. "So now, every day, we play bears or trucks, dance to Lady Gaga, and just have fun. At night, when he is asleep, I clean like nobody’s business," Brittany says. "I have also discovered that just because there are a couple of shoes in the wrong place, or some toys are scattered in my living room, it doesn’t mean our house is dirty. It just means that we are actually living here."

3. Change your attitude, change your life. Michele Ivy Davis was a chronic worrier. When she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, her anxiety skyrocketed. In Chicken Soup for the Cancer Survivor’s Soul, she read "Two Things Not to Worry About." The advice – not to worry about the things she couldn’t change. "The words rang true, nestled in my brain, and calmed my anxious heart," Michele writes. "I felt a huge burden lift from my shoulders. I was freer than I had ever been." The words stayed with Michele through her cancer treatments and her life after cancer. "It’s only a change in attitude, but the words I read that afternoon while in the middle of the worst crisis of my life have made all the difference in how I am living the rest of it."

4. You can choose happiness. Morale was at an all-time low at Debbie Acklin’s office. She remembered a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive by Mandie Maass titled "First Class Attitude," about two women stuck at the airport for hours who were determined to stay upbeat. Their positive attitude didn’t go unnoticed by the gate agents, who upgraded them to first class. "They had no power to change the situation with the planes, but they could help change attitudes," Debbie writes. Debbie and her co-worker decided to change morale at their company. They started a Happiness Committee and ran Happiness Meetings. "Our work had not only increased morale in the office and caused workplace improvements, it had boosted our morale also," Debbie says. "I learned that making other people happy is one of the best ways to make yourself happy."

5. Don’t give up on your dream. Lori Phillips had become discouraged, her dreams of writing meaningful, inspiring pieces replaced with fillers and "fluff" for local newspapers. She felt like a "hack." Then she read Ava Pennington’s "Writing My Story" in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for the Young at Heart and was inspired by how Ava braved rejection letter after rejection letter to become a writer. The story gave Lori the courage to start sending pieces that mattered again. "Ava’s piece reminded me that everyone is a story. There are lives and stories to be told, and I need not be a foreign correspondent to write a story that can change the world," Lori writes. "Persistence and passion turned a hack into a writer once again."

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