Pick Up A Damn Book - And Find A Favorite
Who is John Galt?
What happens when the prime movers go on strike?
Will Looters inherit the earth?
The first question is one that is repeated for nearly 800 pages in my favorite book, Atlas Shrugged. The second is the premise on which the book was written and the third is a question that I ask myself from time to time. So why this post this day?
I listen to a lot of fiction on Audible. I’m about 100 hours shy of Master level in their rankings. This means that in the 17 months that I have had the app, I have listened to over 400 hours of audio. The total is much higher than that because the app has a handy little feature that lets one adjust the playback speed. I have worked my way up to listening to everything at 2x normal speed. My brain has adjusted to the point that even listening to something at 1.25x normal speed sounds painfully slow. Anyone can do it if you work your way up over time. The payoff; flying through books like the 47-hour Steven King tome The Stand in a little less than two weeks.
This is going to be the 4th time that I have listened to Atlas Shrugged and I will do my best not to digress too deeply into why I enjoy this 60+ hour monster. I believe everyone should cover it at least once in their life, if only so that I have more people to talk with about it. Jokes aside, it provides a disturbingly accurate prediction of the type of society that we are transforming into. It’s the capitalist manifesto, craving more traction in an America that is sliding toward economic systems that are frankly not working out too well in their current European implementation. France and the PIGS anyone? They have failed repeatedly over the last hundred years while leaving a body count in the tens of millions. Feel free to email me if you want to debate this fact, I would love to hear your side of the argument – then tear it apart.
Today though, I would like to challenge you to find your guiding book. Read it every year or two. See how you have changed in that time. Have there been any instances where you have made an important decision based on beliefs that were either implemented or cemented because of what you have read. Does the theme still ring true? Is it time to find another book that you place into the center of your life? If you’re not asking yourself these questions on at least an annual basis then I am afraid to inform you that you are not living a life that is as full as it could be.
One of the sad states of our fine country is the embarrassingly few books that the average person reads in a given year. I just did a Google search to confirm a stat that I had heard at one point and it’s not quite as bad as I had in my head, but close. You can read the results at https://bit.ly/2J91lzt . I think the article tries to paint a rosier picture than reality. Remember these truths: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The statistics in this article aren’t so bad on the surface, but when looking at averages, one must remember that the shape of the distribution is critically important. My hunch is that the figures are pretty damn skewed.
I don’t think I’ll finish Atlas Shrugged by the end of the year, but I’ve knocked out 35-40 books between reading and audio in 2018. I’ll list them all in a post before the end of the year. That means that I’ve singled handedly been responsible to bring 2 others who read zero books into the average of the study.
I’ve never understood why people don’t read more books. Plenty of people are reading crap on social media and questionable blogs like this one. However, that is a petty substitute for something sustained and substantial. Between YouTube, Amazon, and the library, a person can become an expert at just about anything that isn’t classified top secret. Hell, screw being an expert! I’m fine with just being able to talk at a conceptual level about damn near anything; or at least bullshit my way through a conversation and not sound like I’m bullshitting. I also feel like I have a thorough understanding of myself and the motivations of other people. This is great at times and downright miserable at others. It’s worth it by a long shot though.
So now. Pick a book, commit to reading 20 pages a night, then start over with a new one when you finish the first. You should be able to knock out 600 pages a month. This will easily translate to 12 books a year unless you’re only reading things like Dune, The Fountainhead, Don Quixote, or Anna Karenina. All good books by the way. Hell, I’ll shoot you a free audible Trial with one of my favorites if you reach out.
You’ve got nothing to lose, except maybe the TV-induced death of a few of your brain cells, and everything to gain.
PS. Can someone who has extensive experience with mirror selfies please teach me how it’s done?