Monday, February 10, 2014

Reading... Yeah, it's THAT important!

(excerpt from the book Turn the Page by Chris Brady)

     When you hear about reading, many different connotations may come to mind. Perhaps you think of entertainment, relaxation, passing the time, or even wasting time. Perhaps you think of reading as boring, or something you had to do in school and happily have to do no more.
     If your thoughts about reading tend toward these neutral or even negative associations, you are not alone. According to, fully 50 percent of US adults are unable to read an eighth-grade-level book, while 33 percent of US high school graduates will never read a book again after high school. It is even worse with college students, where a full 42 percent will never read a book after college. Shockingly, 80 percent of US families did not buy a book this year, while 70 percent of adults have not been in a bookstore in the past five years! Finally, 57 percent of books are never read to completion.
     Not only is this a chilling assessment of where our culture is these days, but it also may be a scary predictor of where it's heading. This is because most (if not all) of the greatest contributors to society and its progress have been voracious readers, with many of them citing specific books that changed their lives.
     The founders of the United States were all, without exception, avid and habitual readers. Thomas Jefferson was such an avid reader that he was told by friends that he would ruin his eyesight if he continued reading so ferociously. He paid them no heed and uttered the famous line, "When I have money, I buy books, and if I have anything left over, I buy food."
     Henry Knox was a bookstore proprietor before the American Revolution began. But he quickly rose to be one of George Washington's most trusted generals and learned all he knew about artillery through the frenzied reading of books on the subject.
     Napoleon Bonaparte famously read all he could get his hands on as a youth and adolescent. Abraham Lincoln transformed himself from his humble beginnings into a pivotal American statesman largely through the power of reading
     Teddy Roosevelt, the youngest man ever to become a US president, was famous for reading in all situations and conditions. Once, out on his western ranch, a couple of rustlers stole his boat. In a sleeting winter storm, Roosevelt tracked the men upriver and finally apprehended them at gunpoint, forcing them to row his boat back to his ranch. Incredibly, he sat reading in the back of the boat during the trip, keeping a gun pointed at the outlaws the whole time!
     Harry Truman, thirty-third president of the United States, never attended college. But he read so much he was equally as educated as the most highly lauded graduates of any school. It was Truman who said, "Not ever reader is a leader, but ever leader must be a reader."
     Oprah Winfrey-actress, businesswoman, and advice-giver extraordinaire-was only allowed to watch one hour of television per day by her grandmother who raised her. To fill in the rest of the time, little Oprah engrossed herself in books. She is said to have had a novel and a self-help book going at all times right into adulthood.
     Actor Matthew McConaughey attributes his entire career to the reading of a book. "I was enrolled at the University of Texas with the idea of studying law," he said. "But I wasn't sleeping well with that idea. I read the first two chapters of The Greatest Salesman in the World, and I knew right then that I wanted to go to film school. I changed my major the next day."
     Singer, songwriter, and business mogul Jimmy Buffett once said that the greatest gift his mother gave him was a love for reading. Lou Holtz, one of college football's all-time winningest coaches, said the book The Magic of Thinking Big was a major turning point in his professional life.
     Academy Award winner Donna Reed was an insecure high school freshman when she read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, which she credited with inspiring her to continue to work with people so she could pursue her dream of acting.
     This list could go on indefinitely because it has always been true that reading is one of the foundational cornerstones to living a successful life. Throughout history, seemingly everyone who accomplished anything knew this intrinsically. But somehow, today, we've drifted away from this truth.

Get your copy of Chris Brady's Turn the Page HERE!



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