I recently got a Reddit PM from a reader of Without Their Permission that absolutely made my week and he allowed me to share it.
Getting on the bestseller list is great, but getting an email like this is everything for an author. You write a book because you hope it takes someone away from their life for a few hours to really open up a new way of thinking. In this case, helping them help themselves change their life in a material way for the better.
Ben, your choices are going to pay dividends for you the rest of your life and I'm hoping to hear from you over the years as you keep leveling up. Thank you so much for this note. And thank you for your service.
If you don't like images, here's a copy of the text:
I messaged you on Facebook and I'm not sure you'll get it, so I figured I'd try to reach you here as well to tell you how you've helped me.
I ended up interviewing for a leadership scholarship to Dartmouth College, and they thought my story of becoming passionate about code was compelling enough to award me a full scholarship. I just started school this fall, and I'm loving it.
At a recruiting lunch on Tuesday, I was asked about how I began coding and immediately mentioned reading your book a few years ago. Recalling all of these memories made me want to reach out to you and thank you. I'm not sure what your book was doing in the ship's library, among dry manuals about military tactics and such. All I know is that I'm extremely thankful that you wrote such an inspirational book, and that it happened to be there for me.