Books·My Life in Books

5 books that inspired 'Man in Motion' Rick Hansen

Rick Hansen completed his Man in Motion world tour on May 22, 1987, having wheeled over 40,000 km around the world raising $26 million for spinal cord research.
Rick Hansen is an advocate for people with disabilities around the world. Rick Hansen's Man in Motion World Tour commemorates his remarkable 1980s journey around the world. (Rick Hansen Foundation)

On May 22, 1987, Rick Hansen became a worldwide celebrity when he completed a 26-month marathon around the world in his wheelchair. He travelled across 34 countries, wheeled over 40,000 km and raised over $26 million dollars for spinal cord research. He has since founded the Rick Hansen Foundation, which raises awareness and funds for people with disabilities.

Over 30 years later, Hansen's trip around the world has become the subject of several books, including Rick Hansen's Man In Motion World Tour written by Jack MacDonald. 

Below, Hansen shares some of the books that have inspired him.

Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss, whose real name is Theodor Seuss Geisel, sits at his drafting table in his home office in La Jolla, California, on April 25, 1957. (Gene Lester/Getty Images)

"I have loved reading Oh, the Places You'll Go to my three daughters. Its core message is a reflection on life. It's about having the courage to confront challenges and reach for your goals. I strive to carry this same positive attitude throughout my life. I look forward to dusting this book off, and reading it to my grandson Everett in the near future."

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy is a marketing strategy developed by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. (https://www.blueoceanstrategy.com)

"Regardless of what sector you're trying to make a difference in, Blue Ocean Strategy inspires you to redefine the competition. Instead of filling a gap that doesn't exist in the marketplace, the book encourages you to find solutions to occupy a space that no one else has before. As a leader trying to make the world more accessible for people with disabilities and find a cure for spinal cord injury, the book motivates me to address existing barriers and find new innovations to get us there faster."

Tale of a Great White Fish: A Sturgeon Story by Maggie de Vries

Maggie de Vries is an award-winning Canadian writer of children's literature. (Roland Kokke)

"Tale of a Great White Fish: A Sturgeon Story is about one ancient species' story of survival in the Fraser River. Thousands of copies of the book have been distributed to schools across Canada. This book encourages youth to think of new solutions to help preserve the White Sturgeon, which has outlived the dinosaurs and survived two ice ages, yet they're still struggling for survival because of human associated impacts. I love that the story is one of conservation from the perspective of a young boy. When we teach our children to build strong ecosystems, we are creating a healthy planet for generations to come."

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl's memoir of surviving the Holocaust, has sold over 10 million copies in 24 languages. (Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely/Wikimedia Commons)

"During the Second World War, Viktor Frankl observed horrific conditions of human sufferings while he was an inmate in Nazi concentration camps. He determined those that gave in to only pain, suffering and despair perished, while others that clung to hope found meaning and the strength to endure. I'm struck by his incredible story of survival and his relentless pursuit for a meaningful life. His story inspires me on difficult days. I use his message to encourage others to never give up on their dreams."

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, attends the fourth day of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 14, 2017 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Shoe Dog is his memoir. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"For anyone who believes in a dream and feels they are walking a tightrope between success and failure, Shoe Dog carries a message of hope, tenacity and personal resilience. It's an honest portrayal of a hugely successful business leader and humanitarian whose journey to building one of the greatest brands in the world was fraught with pivot points, skepticism, adversity and courageous decisions."

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