Kevin Kelly was recently asked “what one thing can someone do to change their life?”
His answer: Read 10 books a year. Books of your choosing, from start to finish.
He didn’t qualify his answer so I don’t know his opinion on audio books. If he does include audio I will be transformed several times over this year. I’ve listened to “Team of Rivals“, a 36 disc examination of Lincoln and his administration, Shelby Foote’s stunning “The Civil War – A Narrative” 3 volume set (105 discs total), Eli Goldratt’s “The Goal” and “It’s Not Luck“, and Aerosmith guitar god Joe Perry’s autobiography “Rocks“. I’ve also read a handful of books over the last 9 months.
Mr. Kelly was addressing Tim Ferriss’ “4 hour” followers when he made the comment. It’s unlikely Mr. Kelly thinks Tim’s podcast listeners are picking up 10 harlequin romance novels and expecting “big things”. Not the big things Mr. Kelly was referring to at any rate. Tim’s fans read Tim’s books. They read books Tim suggests by authors he interviews. Those books are likely to change a person.
After Tim interviewed Ryan Holiday I purchased Ryan’s book “The Obstacle is the Way” and devoured it. It was the right book at the right time. The underlying message present on every page is simple; Shit happens – make the best of it.
After reading “Obstacle” I did something I rarely do. I bought copies and gave them to friends. I also urged Jenn to read it. And she did.
I’ve long suspected that protection from all harm, an existence free from freak accidents and tragic mishaps, is a grand illusion. Thoughts of the Twin Towers come to mind. Y2K. I know families that had buckets of rice and dried beans, MRE’s and water purification tablets.
I’m not claiming to be immune from this thinking. I keep this contraption in my Amazon wish list just in case we drive into a body of water. In Atlanta. I am painfully aware that one day it may be me staring in that tragic story “The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time”. Or worse, my wife or daughter.
Life is unpredictable.
I’ll prove it.
You didn’t expect to be reading a new entry here. I didn’t expect to be writing one. But the urge came on and I started typing.
I am experiencing the power of words to change the course of life. Earlier this year I asked Jenn if she would like to attend the local Montessori Institute. It seemed better than getting a job she hated. Her dream is to work with children, preferably in a classroom. I didn’t know where we’d get the money. I wasn’t sure how we would manage. The course is compressed and requires an intense commitment. 9 months of reading stacks of Dr. Montessori’s books, writing and editing papers, and observation time in classrooms.
All I knew was we had to make a decision. The details would come into focus as we moved toward the goal.
And that’s what happened.
The Obstacles Were the Way.