Thursday, January 3, 2008

Believe it or Not...Reading is a Good Thing

I used to hate to read. When I say that...I don't mean that I just didn't care for it. I mean, I avoided it at all costs. If it wasn't the back of a baseball card or the agate (stats) page of the Sports section of the newspaper, I knew nothing about it. And, I had no desire to know anything about it.

In fact, one summer I was assigned the unenviable task of reading
Gone with the Wind for my 10th grade English class. Summer is for vacation, hanging out, being lazy - NOT reading! Especially a boring 1,000-page book about some moody dame named Scarlett. So, my best friend and I had a bright idea. Instead of reading the book, we'd wait until the day before school started and watch the entire 4-hour movie (in hindsight, I can't imagine the book being any more brutal than the movie).

So, my buddy and I got a good feel for the story. Unfortunately for us, the test we took on the "reading" primarily covered the areas of the story that were either not in the movie, or were completely different than the film. Oops. Exposed.

From the time I was a kid until about four years ago, I probably only read a couple books that were not required reading for school. I had "better" things to do with my time. Things like NOT reading.

But a few years ago, that changed. It all started with a book entitled
Good to Great by Jim Collins. I was in a Bible study (and still am) with a group of executives who constantly quoted and referenced this book. So, I finally decided I was going to read it - just so I wouldn't be completely ignorant to what they were talking about. And guess what. The book was AMAZING! To this today, I consider this one of my favorite books of all-time, and is a must -read for anyone who is a part of any organization.

I enjoyed reading that book so much that I read another. Then another. Before long, I found myself reading whenever I had a moment to spare. And, I really cannot begin to tell you how much richer my life is today because of all the reading I have done - and continue to do.

It may not seem like much to you, but over the past three years, I have read 52 books in entirety, and parts of several others. And, I have about 25 books on the shelves in my office and at home that I am itching to get to.
Right now, I am reading three different books - Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, and The Best Question Ever (for the 2nd time) and Visioneering - both by Andy Stanley. I can't get enough. When I go on vacation, I devour books. I read two books on consecutive days at the beach earlier this year.

That's weird, considering four years ago I wouldn't pick up a book unless I was buying it for someone as a gift.

If you're not a reader, I suggest you start. But, start with something that piques your interest. Perhaps something that will provide encouragement or added depth to your life. But make sure you select something you enjoy, or comes highly recommended.

If you're looking for a place to start, I'd love to help. You never know where reading one book will take you!

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