As a 5-year-old kindergarten student, I visited the principal’s office on a weekly basis. When the call came over the intercom to summon me there, I was excited to go. Every trip was the same. I’d be ushered in, handed a book, and read it to our school’s principal. Most of the time it was a children’s storybook, but sometimes he would ask me to read him an article from the newspaper. He was a lifelong educator and enjoyed the novelty of having a kindergartener read to him. I wasn’t exactly reading War & Peace, but it was a few levels above “See Dick run.” Plus it got me out of class, which I appreciated even then.
I learned to read when I was three. My mom found out the hard way. She was talking to my grandma about Christmas presents and because I was in the room, decided to spell mine out. “I got Mike a T-O-N-K-A, T-R-U-C-K.” Unable to contain my excitement as that was exactly what I had asked for, I shouted out, “I’m getting a Tonka Truck!” My mom blurted out a scolding, “Michael Wayne!” before she fell into a fit of laughter as she realized what had just happened.
This reading habit has stuck with me for well over 45 years now, and in the past several months a sad realization dawned on me.
I’ve wasted a lifetime of reading.
“Clutter has only two possible causes: too much effort is required to put things away or it is unclear where things belong.” ~ Marie Kondo
The calendar has flipped and it’s time for a new title in MWD’s Bestowed Book-O-the-Month. For May of 2017, I’m giving away a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. This book was a runaway hit in 2015, has sold more than 2 million copies, is in its 56th printing, and has launched an entire “Tidying Up” industry for Kondo, who now has 4 titles connected to her “KonMari Method.”
Someone once told me that one of the ways you can judge a person is by comparing the size of their television to the size of their library. I love movies so I’ll admit to owning a ridiculously sized tv. But I love books even more than movies so the size of my library dwarfs the size of my television. The tv was purchased three years ago. My book collection started when I was three years old.
Though it’s tempting to make the transition to digital books – note-taking would be decidedly easier, and I could take my entire library with me everywhere I go – I still can’t resist the allure of the physical book, which in my mind is still the most perfect piece of technology ever invented. It never needs recharged, the operating system is always up to date, a book requires no internet connection, and the amount of data storage for its size has only recently been eclipsed after holding the record for about a millennium.
There’s only one thing better than reading a great book for the first time; reading a great book for the first time for free.
For the Bestowed Book-O-the-Month, I’m giving away a book to one lucky winner randomly drawn from subscribers of my email newsletter. This giveaway will be a new copy of something I’ve read within the last 24 months so I can make sure I’m passing along a title I would recommend people spend their own hard-earned money on. I’ll also include a page (or two or three – depending on the book) of notes I took while reading the book.
My current reading list for the next few weeks. Doing some heavy research before I start a new project. Also, I’ve always been interested in people who know it’s not too late and started their biggest success at age 50 or later.
What if, in an attempt to create a bomb-proof container, you instead created a device with immense destructive power? Two authors, born over a half-century apart and writing completely different kinds of books, could tell you first-hand.
Sammy Glick is a powerful, loathsome, complicated man. Born in Hollywood from the mind of author Budd Schulberg in his seminal work, What Makes Sammy Run?, Sammy sprang to existence in the 1940s as a cautionary tale of ambition, greed, and hubris run amok. Somewhere along the way, as the 20th century morphed from the united age of WWII to the cynical era of Vietnam, Sammy himself morphed into something of a role model – not only for wannabe Hollywood executives, but also for up-and-coming business executives in a hurry to get to the top. All of this to the horror of Sammy’s creator, Budd Schulberg:
In 2016, for the first time ever, I kept track of every book I read for the entire year. Twenty-six in all, or an average of one every two weeks. Which used to seem like a lot to me until I compared myself to prolific readers like, Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ryan Holiday. But not to compare myself is something that was reinforced for me this year from the one person in that list that you may have never heard of before. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We hear all the time that quality is more important than quantity (though I would certainly argue that when it comes to reading the latter inherently helps with the former), and by that measure 2016 was the most impactful year of reading for my life in more than a decade.