Friday, August 13, 2010

Week 29: Read for Your Life: 11 Ways to Transform Your Life with Books by Pat Williams

Okay, so I know I promised no more self-help books - but this one was IRRESISTABLE. And who knew that a book by the VP of the Orlando Magic could mean so much to me? I like basketball, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not the reason I picked this book. This guy is a serious reader.

In this book, Pat Williams describes his own experience as a voracious reader. He discovered why reading is so valuable and has set it down in this 300-page text. With his own research and opinions, Pat incorporates some of the best quotes from historical icons, political figures, and successful entrepreneurs; quotes on the benefits of reading. Many of those quotes hit me like a ton of bricks.

I could not agree more with Pat’s reasons for reading. Reading is a way to expand my own mind, enhance my emotional capabilities, and grow into a person I want to become. The reason I feel so confident in opening up conversations with complete strangers is because I am certain that with my experience and interests, I will be able to find common ground. Reading has helped me become a better conversationalist, and has also helped me develop empathy.

Furthermore, what would happen if I never learned anything more than what I already know? Pat’s awesome chapter on emulating personal heroes by tapping into their minds by way of their writing - well, that changed my entire perspective on historical literature. I think I’ll be visiting the history section of my library more regularly.

Some of the realizations I had during the course of reading this book were not pleasant. It made me think of the people in my life who do not make reading a priority in their lives and have given up learning altogether because they are “grown up." I feel I have failed them in some way because I have not tried harder to inspire a passion for reading. Reading is an enormous part of my life, and I hope that my experience as a reader will continue to benefit them, and their future growth.

If someone you know has not yet discovered the benefits of reading, and you want to inspire them, I would suggest giving them “Read for Your Life”. Beg them to read it, if it’s the only book they ever read again. Dr. Suess said it best: “The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” (Even if you never leave your favorite reading nook.)

This could be the best, most insightful book I have ever read. I hope you, dear reader, will sprint to the library or book store to pick it up. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about reading.

Pat, if I ever run into you, you’ll know me. I’ll be the one holding the open book. And I’ll give you the biggest hug you ever had.

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