“Nutrimentum spiritus (food for the soul).” ~Inscription at The Berlin Royal Library

When was the last time that you went to a library?  If it has been awhile treat yourself and go browsing.  I went to the library tonight and I had a wonderful time.  I have loved libraries since I was a little boy – they have always seemed magical to me.  I can remember every library I have ever been inside and I have been inside a great many over the years.  One of the first places I go when I visit a new city is the public library.  I get a feel for the city just from looking at the layout of the library and the books in the recently returned  bins.

When I was in 3rd or perhaps 4th grade, I believed, for a short time, that I could read every book that had ever been written.  My local library at that time was fairly small and I had just discovered that I had the gift of very rapid reading.  I could easily read a book in those days, a book years above my age grading, in an evening.  I read history, math, science; really anything except girl directed romances were of interest to me.  (Romance novels still frighten me today.  I believe merely being in the presence of these “Bodice Rippers” can cause a dangerous loss in my life force!) So, I made an estimation of how many shelves were in the library.  Then I estimated how many books were on each shelf – multiplied to get the total number of books and divided by the number of days I estimated that I would live.  This was going to be easy!  I only had to read 4 books a week and I would have in my brain the sum of all human knowledge!  I was so excited!  I remembered that excitement tonight, that excitement of the much younger Jack, as I walked thru the stacks of books at the main Des Moines public library – and I smiled.

I never will read every book that is written.  Turns out that many new books are published each and every year – more new books every year than I could read in a lifetime.  It also turns out that my early library did not have all of the books that existed at that time.  So, with regret, I had to give up the goal of reading every book ever written – the math just did not work out.

Still, I read and that has made all of the difference for me and it can for you as well.  Read 3 books on just one subject and you will know more that virtually anyone that you are likely to meet about that topic.  Read a dozen books on a subject and you are a multi-state master.  Read 30 or more and there will be just a few people in the world that know more about a subject than you.  Now I do not believe that knowledge is power – but combine knowledge with focused action – now things get really exciting.  And I want you to experience that excitement!

Till next time…Jack

“Libraries:  The medicine chest of the soul.” ~Inscription over the door at The Library at Thebes, Greece