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Commit Yourself to Lifelong Learning Part 4

By Chuck Gallozzi

Reprinted by permission.

This is the fourth and final installment in this series.


How to Read Books

1. My favorite piece of advice on how to read books was given by Francis Bacon: “Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.”

2. “Read nothing that you do not care to remember, and remember nothing you do not mean to use.” (John Stuart Blackie)

3. “It is well to read everything of something, and something of everything.” (Henry P. Brougham)

4. Apply what you learn. Don’t expect self-help books to work if you don’t.

5. Plan your reading and read with a purpose.

Additional Words of Advice about Reading

1. Don’t neglect reading books that were written before you were born or earlier. All books, regardless of their age, are new when read for the first time.

2. “A good book, in the language of the book-sellers, is a salable one; in that of the curious, a scarce one; in that of men of sense, a useful and instructive one.” (Oswald Chambers)

3. “Books, like friends, should be few and well chosen. Like friends, too, we should return to them again and again for, like true friends, they will never fail us - never cease to instruct - never cloy.” (Charles Caleb Colton) As Charles Caleb Colton suggests, we should reread good books several times during our lifetime, An important reason for doing so is that we are no longer the same person when we reread it, so each new reading will provide fresh insights.

4. Build a personal library of your favorite books so you will be able to follow the advice of (William) Robertson Davies, “A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.”

5. With the vast number of books available, choose what you read carefully. Why spend time poring over useless information when you could use the same time to grow in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom?

6. Potentially, books are treasures, but one that is shut is nothing but a doorstop.

7. If we fail to read good books, how are we any better than an illiterate person?

8. Sometimes one reads a book on procrastination in order to procrastinate! Don’t use reading as an excuse to avoid responsibilities.

9. “It is better to read a little and ponder a lot than to read a lot and ponder a little.” (Denis Parsons Burkitt)

10. Read one book at a time. To learn efficiently, it is better to focus on one subject at a time. If we try to read several books at once, we divide our attention, absorbing less material from each book.

11. “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” (P. J. O’Rourke) I couldn’t resist including this humorous quote, which applies to Elvis Presley. You see, despite his ignoble death (a drug overdose in his bathroom), it became noble because of what he was reading at the time of his death, which was the spiritual classic, The Impersonal Life, by Joseph S. Benner.

Just as we can judge people by the company they keep, we can learn more about them by the books they read. And whenever you meet bright people and wish to become more like them, find out what books they read.

You probably agree with Marcus Tullius Cicero that “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” To enjoy the benefits of reading at little cost, get a library card. And if you already have one, use it more often.

Also, may we all enjoy TV as much as Groucho Marx who said, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”


Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown,? Henry L. Roediger III,? and Mark A. McDaniel

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin

Accelerated Learning: How to Learn Any Skill or Subject, Double Your Reading Speed and Develop Laser Sharpe Memory- Instantly by James Horton

How to Improve the Quality of Your Life?: A Comprehensive Approach and Guide to Well-Being By Dr. Joseph Adrien Emmanuel DEMES M.D. M.P.H. Ph.D.

The New Science of Learning: How to Learn in Harmony with Your Brain By Terry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek

Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice by Sharan B. Merriam and Laura L. Bierema



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