My friend the late Charles "Tremendous" Jones shared this notion with me several years ago, and as an author, I took it as a compliment and a challenge. In fact, I thought it was so powerful that I use it in all my speeches.
I have firsthand experience on the importance of books in our lives. My first book, "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," sold a lot of copies. But the best part was the feedback from readers: Thousands told me the book had changed their lives. Again, I am honored and daunted. That was an enormous responsibility to assume.
Let me share the biggest secret of a really life-changing book: If you have found a book that taught you a tremendous amount, you need to go back and read that book three, five, seven and 10 years later, after you've had different experiences. It is not enough to simply read a motivational self-help book. You have to study it, underline it, highlight it and take notes. Good books should never be put away permanently.
Whether you are a paper-and-ink fan or a Kindle/Nook devotee, 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. Inscribed on the Thomas Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress are the first eight words of a quotation by famed American author Henry David Thoreau, "Books are the treasured wealth of the world ..."
Reading researcher Kylene Beers says something happens to U.S. kids as they make their way through school. "About 100 percent of first-graders walk in on the first day and are interested in this thing called reading," she says. "Eighty percent of graduating high school seniors tell us they will never again voluntarily read another book."
J.K. Rowling is credited with reviving interest in reading with the fabulously popular "Harry Potter" series, and the "Twilight" books hooked legions of fans. There is no lack of good reading material. And yet statistics tell us that the average person reads just three books a year.
Three books! Not only am I an advocate of reading everything I can get my hands on, but also I am a huge proponent of lifelong learning. When your career or family schedules preclude enrolling in a class, books provide another avenue. Read to expand your mind. Read for fun. Read because you are interested in something - and read to become more interesting. You'll never waste your time if you are reading!
American writer Clarence Day said: "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall; nations perish; civilizations grow old and die out; and, after an era of darkness, new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."
by Harvey Mackay Aug 7, 2011
Harvey Mackay: Books are important to the shaping of lives | Tulsa World