What’s in Your Wallet? A major credit card company has leveraged this brief but compelling consumer question for years. Today, however, I ask you a different question – What’s on Your Bookshelf?
As a professed lifelong learner, reading is something that I have enjoyed doing since my early years from my first George Schultz, Charlie Brown book.
My Dad (rest in peace, Pop!), was a doctor here in the US for decades after bringing our family from Cuba to pursue the American dream. With all his professional degrees and a 30-year practice in Jacksonville where we grew up, he never stopped his pursuit of new knowledge. History, art, science, philosophy, psychology, and biography books adorned his home office and included biographies of many significant renaissance thinkers throughout world history.
One of the first books that I remember him giving me was 100 of the Most Famous People in World History. I think I was about ten years old. From that book at an early age, I learned about the lives of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Einstein, Mozart, as well as many more historical figures from around the world. It was that book that opened my eyes to the infinite power of lifelong learning.
Today, “What’s on your Bookshelf” matters. Lots of readers like me (call me a book nerd for sure) can’t walk into a Barnes & Noble without picking out a few new entries for the bookshelf. Amazon shipments arrive in my house regularly as well. I make it through many of them. Some I don’t. That’s ok. If you don’t finish a book, pass it on. Someone else may enjoy it more than you did.
Earlier this year as part of a spring cleaning, I looked at all of those books stacking up in every corner of my office. All of my shelves were full. I know what you are thinking, why not stock up on your Kindle. I do that also, but the feeling of a book in hand just engages me much more the new-fashioned way. I am also one who writes in the columns, and doodles notes and even uses a highlighter. It’s blasphemy to some, but I just engage all of my senses more this way.
Through the years, I had kept my favorite books that have become part of my learning DNA referring to them often. This year, however, I gathered some which I no longer use and donated them to my library, gave a couple to my kids (if they seemed interested), or a local charity. My mother in law just moved into a new nursing home, and it had a wonderful library that helps keep “their aging minds” young for sure. I gave them a few dozen.
Just remember, lifelong learning, and the books on your shelf will undoubtedly help you become the “best of you” in this life. Some learnings will stay with you. Some won’t, but that’s just fine. The power of the book can also be passed on to another lifelong learner you may know. Some future reader’s life may be better as a result. By paying it forward your book may become someone’s answer to the question, “What’s on Your Bookshelf”.
So today, my thought isn’t – “What’s in your Wallet; it’s “What’s on Your Bookshelf?
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