You joke, but Atlas Shrugged actually put the bug in my ear about engineering. I mostly wanted to be a scientist, but I was in the Army and knew I would only have about 4 years worth of college covered by the GI Bill when I got out. At the time I read Atlas Shrugged, I wasn’t even sure what an engineer was. But I knew it was vaguely science-y and didn’t require frequent groveling for grant money or 8 years of school. And it was possible to make decent money doing it.
Later, I read a few Henry Petroski books, like To Engineer Is Human and The Evolution of Useful Things that really made me appreciate the profession. That, and Richard Feynman really seemed to be a fan of engineers. But Ayn Rand made me realize that engineering was even an option, and also that it was possible to look up to engineers rather than just writing them all off as nerdy businessmen.
My mother decided at age 12 to become an attorney after watching episodes of Perry Mason. She went on to be one of only 3 women in her law school graduating class, and had a long, successful legal career.