Mackay’s Moral: A Person without knowledge is like a house without a foundation.
Harvey Mackay is a favorite of mine. I have read several of his books and I read his weekly column all the time. I find him a continual source of knowledge, wisdom and common sense. The column which is the inspiration for this post is entitled “Open a book, open a mind, change a life.” I think it could be as easily entitled How to Improve Your Job, Your Business, Your Life. Mackay’s premise, learned long ago from a friend, is that our lives are basically changed by the people we meet and the books we read.
If you do not read you are taking away one of the major methods of changing, and improving, your life. Henry David Thoreau said “Books are the treasured weatlth of the world...” The collective knowledge of the human race is in books. Clay tablets, stone tablets, pyparus, paper and now electronic documents hold the collective learning, relearning, and discovery of ideas, philosophies, science, math, business, wisdom and pleasure that have all come before us. As Mackay says “…. books are your ticket to places you can only dream of. A good read can stretch your imagination and spark your creativity. Books inspire, comfort, teach and entertain..”
Dictators and dominant theologies in the past have tried to keep people from advancing and improving by controlling what they could read or even controlling whether or not they could read. Women have been kept uneducated even in today’s world in order to keep them from understanding how they could improve their lives, to keep them from understanding what they don’t know. Here in the United States we have people today who voluntarily introduce themselves to ignorance by never reading a book again once they have left school.
Yet people have overcome these attempts to keep them ignorant by reading. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education “Individuals read to live life to its fullest, to earn a living, to understand what is going on in the world, and to benefit from the accumulated knowledge of civilization.” Why deny yourself the opportunity to gain from this accumulated knowledge? Consider these points:
You can improve your job by reading in your area of work. According to Brian Tracy “Read an hour every day in your chosen field. This works out to about one book per week, 50 books per year, and will guarantee your success.” In one year you will have the equivalent of a Master’s Degree in your chosen field.
You can improve your business. There is no shortage of great ideas on how to run your business. Why not take advantage of the knowledge of those who have gone before you? Learn from those who have made mistakes before so that you don’t have to repeat those mistakes.
You can improve your life. There is a plethora of self-help books available in almost any area of life. Find one you like and underline it, learn from it, make notes in it. Additionally reading just gives you pleasure, time to yourself and time to reflect. I love reading, but I also really enjoy hearing my wife laugh out loud at a funny passage in a book she reads, totally unaware of the world around her. That is pleasure. There are also health benefits from reading. Norman Cousins, an editor and writer, said “There is a simple non-medical technique for increasing lonevity. This system is goes by the name of “book”…. Through it, man can live hundreds of lifetimes in one.”
So grab a book, your Kindle, your I-pad or whatever method you use and start reading today. You will be amazed at how much you can learn. You will also be amazed how much better you are at crossword puzzles.
A final note. One of my “mentors” is Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. He is still considered to be one of the best presidents. He never went anywhere without a book and often read a book a day. Even on trips to Africa and South America he carried what he called his Pigskin Library, a collection of 60 favorite books. So I figure if a President can read that much I can try to read at least a book every couple of weeks.