There are two books that come to mind that, though they do not fall in the realm of religious inspiration, are so thought-provoking that they are life changing. They are: 1. Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin and 2. Brain Building: Exercising Yourself Smarter, the latter of which I will comment on.
I purchased this book about 4 years ago when I was working a full-time job and going to graduate school to earn a Master of Education degree in Mathematics. The math courses suited me for the most part, since they pertained to both my major and my interests in working with numbers. The education courses, on the other hand, were intimidating, because I grew up with an inferiority complex about my abilities to perform in courses that demanded both extensive amounts of reading and the ability to comprehend several themes and passages.
It was during this period that, because I was going to school and working full-time simultaneously, on many days the only opportunities I had to study were either during my lunch hour or right after I arrived home late at night with thoughts of having to be back at work the next morning. Fortunately, it was also then that I was already enthralled enough with Marilyn's books and Parade column to buy this publication.
Among the several helpful suggestions Marilyn pointed out in this book is that when reading, do not hesitate to write your thoughts and opinions in the margins alongside key paragraphs and sentences. This particular approach, in a manner of speaking, places you on a more equal footing with the professor or author, and it is a valuable reminder that your interpretations and viewpoints are just as important as, if not more important than, the material you are trying to focus upon.
Despite my limited time and resources, this piece of advice helped me to participate adequately in classroom discussions. Except for a couple of B's, which I received before I even bought this book, I ended up graduating with A's in every course.
Thank you, God! And thank you, Marilyn!