“A House without books is like a room without windows.”
~Horace Mann

I love books, so I suppose it goes without saying that I also love reading. This afternoon I was in my favorite bookstore in Seattle, Elliott Bay Books, wandering the aisles and perusing title after title. I see books as orphans in desperate need of adoption…today I adopted four! I also love the way some books feel…the composition of the cover as well as the words. While I do have a Kindle and an iPad, I  prefer to feel the weight of pages as they turn and reveal the trapped contents held captive.

Harry Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” and I wholeheartedly agree. Yet in the US we take the gift of reading for granted not realizing that much of our planets population is illiterate. According to the most recent statistics there are approximately 800 million adults who cannot read or write globally. Illiteracy fuels poverty. The ability to read and write are economic and social game-changers all throughout the world.

While my heart was full as I considered which book to purchase and read today, it was also heavy as I considered the millions who are unable to purchase or enter into the world of books. Illiteracy needs to be defeated, and it is important that we stay vigilant in the push to improve eduction in the US and to fight against poverty, which breeds illiteracy, throughout the world.

Leaders are readers. Education is empowerment. Understanding and knowledge are keys to the future. If we long to have leaders in the future who are broad in knowledge, adept and ethical, it begins in the home where parents start the journey of empowerment through reading. When your children are young read to them, often. Also, let them see you reading as this will stir their desire to read as well. When they ask for a book buy it! And keep encouraging them to read-read-read! These are the best investment you can make for them.

When I ask most men today what they are currently reading, the answer I receive is, “Well, I’m not really a reader.” This is a sad commentary not only for our present time, but for our future. Modern media does scant little to sharpen our thinking or deepen our understanding as it serves up an offering of soundbites and less than intelligent television shows.

When one reads, new worlds are opened up…ideas formed…adventures dreamed. Here are some thoughts on books from others to inspire your reading.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”   ~William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” ~ Mortimer J. Adler

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”  ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks, And all the sweet serenity of books”  ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”  ~Vera Nazarian

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”  ~Haruki Murakami

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”  ~Maya Angelou

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”  ~C.S. Lewis

“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”  ~Chinese Proverb

“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted;
nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.
Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested:
that is, some books are to be read only in parts,
others to be read, but not curiously, and some few
to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
~ Francis Bacon ~

“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.” ~Victor Hugo

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  ~Dr. Seuss


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