Day 5: Start a Book

5 Sep

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – W. Fussleman

Today’s Mission: 1 in 4 American adults did not read a single book last year. Those who did read books were usually women and older folk. This doesn’t bode well for younger men.

Don't piss off Levar Burton. Read man!

Start a book. Any book. Pick one of your favorite novels from high school or college. Choose a book that you’ve been forever meaning to read and have been continually putting off. Pick a book from the Essential Men’s Library.  Drop everything and read for at least 30 minutes today. Your brain and soul will thank you later.

The first book I can recall reading was Dr. Seuss’s “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” and I suppose you might argue that was the most important book I ever read.  My mom (who has just started reading this blog) might set the record straight on the “first” book once and for all.  But I digress…

So why should I (we) bother reading at all?  I’m going to channel my inner Letterman and give you my own top 10 list for why you should read – today!

Top Ten Reasons Man Should Read Book

(Use your inner cave-man voice)

  1. Chicks dig it.  A man reading is a curious, attractive sight.  Women frequent bookstores.  Three words:  Oprah’s book club.
  2. A useful man is a handy man.  There is no skill, task or lesson that reading a book can’t teach you.
  3. Books are free and cheap.  Visit your library or browse the “used” section on
  4. You can read and enjoy a book anywhere.  The beach, camping, commuting, by a fire, even in the tub.
  5. A book makes a great companion.  You’re never alone when you can delve into a book and explore the stories, characters and settings within.
  6. Reading improves your ability to write and comprehend information.
  7. Improves your concentration and focus.  Reading is also the easiest and simplest way to become smarter.
  8. Makes you a more seasoned, wiser man.  The most successful and influential leaders, businessmen and even casanovas were voracious readers.  Read about the lives of men you admire and emulate them.  You’ll achieve great feats.
  9. Truth really is stranger than fiction.  You can learn about the most fascinating, exhilarating events that have occurred on planet earth via a simple book.
  10. Makes you a super-star conversationalist.  Why is the “renaissance man” such a compelling figure?  Because he’s well-read and knows something about everything.  Talk to others about some of the books you’ve read – and ask them what they’re reading.

I read every Hardy Boys book as a kid, mostly while listening to Michael Jackson. Double mystery!

So far this year I’ve read 23 books, not too shabby.  Tonight I’m starting “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.  This book is well recommended by friends/family (#26 on Amazon) and is an inspiring story of school-building in Afghanistan.  I follow the geo-political issues in Afghanistan regularly but this book should give me a rare glimpse into Afghan life at the grassroots level.

Schools and education couldn’t be more important for the future success of this country.   Afghanistan is home to one of the world’s highest illiteracy rates (72% according to the CIA) and the inability to read fuels poverty, drug-trafficking and the insurgency.  I’ll attempt to offer a review of “Three Cups of Tea” after I finish it.

For the record, I’m not enthusiastic about Kindles, eBooks, and the like.  There is nothing classier, more durable and trouble-free than an old-fashioned paper book.

What are your favorite, must-read books?  Comment and share your suggestions below.

Updated: An astute female reader agreed with point #1 and wanted to share this link.

Full Mission Brief:
Start a Book
(From the Art of Manliness)


One Response to “Day 5: Start a Book”

  1. Melissa September 8, 2010 at 11:36 am #

    I was skeptical about Kindles too, but then I tried one. They’re rad. So little, and you can carry an entire library with you at all times. And when you live in a tiny apartment, it prevents book clutter. It may not be as classy, but I suspect it actually may be more environmentally efficient than producing paper books. Plus, if it’s a really long book, it’s a hell of a lot easier to hold over your head while you read on your back.

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