My niece Gretchen is about to give birth to her first child. During her pregnancy, her husband Tony has been reading to their unborn baby. Currently, he’s working his way through Don Quixote.
In my family, this is considered normal.
Of all the things I’m thankful for, high on my list is that I was raised by readers. Since I was the eldest child and my father was faraway fighting a war, my mother read to me incessantly. Happily, I’m still being read to.
In the midst of her kindergarten year, Zoe called. When I answered the phone, I was greeted with an exuberant, “Grandma, I can read!” Read she can and does. When I’m a guest in their house, I have the pleasure of Zoe reading to me every evening.
Of course, you can catch book passion any time in life. However, the sooner you get it, the more time you have to consume more titles.
Once caught, this fever doesn’t diminish. My sister Nancy, who has lived abroad her entire adult life, is relocating to Santa Barbara. She told me that the shipping company required that she count the books in her library.
“I discovered,” she said, with some amazement, “that I own 1,026 books.” Now I’m eager to do an inventory of my own since I have no idea how many books are in my library.
Since Nancy and I are both moving into new homes, finding the perfect spot for our books is a top priority. I keep thinking of Anna Quindlen’s observation, “I will be most happy if my children grow up to be the kind of people whose idea of decorating is to add more bookshelves.”
So while reading for pleasure is what often snares us to begin with, a desire to become our best selves often has us exploring new sections of the library and bookstore.
If you’re building a business, new titles and old can accelerate your success, connect you with ideas, resources and inspiration you’d never have encountered while walking down the street.
Here are five old favorites that are a pleasure to read and filled with useful insights for the Joyfully Jobless life:
Growing a Business by Paul Hawken
Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Small is the New Big by Seth Godin
A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
While some of these titles may be old friends already, I chose them because they all are worthy of more than one visit.
And if you aren’t a regular reader, make time every day to sample the creative thinkers, the life teachers, the pioneers who have wonderful things to teach us. If you don’t, you’ll be inflicting a needless handicap on yourself.
As the wise Jim Rohn used to say, “The only thing worse than not reading a book in the last 90 days, is not reading a book in the last 90 days and thinking it doesn’t matter. Skip a meal if you must, but don’t skip a book.”