THIS generation is witnessing unmatched information boom, access to countless books and reading materials is thousands of times more available than it was for our fathers. This brings the question of whether we are a better generation or have lost wisdom to the abundant information like the proverbial fool that is thirsty in the abundance of water. We read – many have practically swallowed zillions books, thanks to the convenience of paperbacks, online bookstores, e-library, tablets, smart phones and various handheld devices.
We literarily have books at our fingertips (without actually holding them in our hands). You are most likely reading this from a device which was science fiction about 70 years ago! For those of us who love to read, we also love quotes; the likes of reader-today-leader-tomorrow will fan the embers of our ego. But are we really the leaders that we are supposed to be? Do those books do more to us than boosting our bragging rights, so that when we see our friends we can say ‘Oh, I read that even the two sequels to it’? Apart from enhancing our communication skills, what do we read to reading? We may stand better if we ask ourselves why we read at all – for development, pleasure or just to fill the time.
If you read for development, be it spiritual, mental or financial, I guess the time is now to take the auditor’s stance: Do we really apprehend how to make or save more money after reading Get Rich or Die Trying, oh sorry, I mean Rich Dad Poor Dad and other sorts of how-to-get-rich books. Do we? Do those books really teach us how to get rich?You will wonder if I was going to ask you questions all day. Why bother? You probably have same questions bothering you and all you would prefer right now are answers. Well, I may not be able to provide all the answers but I am willing to poke and pose all the questions and, perhaps, we might be able to find the answers as are individually applicable. As a younger man, I read all sorts of books. I started Shakespeare while in elementary school albeit with little understanding of what I read. I still remember laughing at myself when I read Twelfth Night for the second time and realised what it was actually about.
However, it was fun both times as I did not have to agree or disagree with Mr. Shakespeare. Now the point is for those who read how-to books, such as How to find a good wife or husband, How to become a millionaire at 20 and How to get promoted ahead of your mates. I will be stunned if you have met a millionaire who got his idea from a book. Also, I doubt if you people get promoted from reading a book (the only place where reading for promotion is applicable is in the classrooms). Mind you, you are most unlikely to meet a husband or wife who got a spouse following the principles of a how-to book. I strongly hold a personal belief that how-to books should be strictly restricted to gardening, knitting and stuff, not on how to be a sort-after person. Forget it, if your attitude is poor even when you read The Power of Seduction, every morning it still gets you nowhere. Let me confess that I read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power.
I also read The Prince by Nicollo Machiavell. I concluded that they are similar books about acquiring, deploying and sustaining political power. I believe, like they say, that we are all politicians. Contrarily, I do not subscribe to all of either Green’s or Machiavelli’s dog-eat-dog statutes for success. While some of them may practicably be good and right, most are not, because you have to pretend. Neither of those books addresses your person; neither considers what you may find acceptable practice in line with your vision and mission. Therefore, we should fashion our books after our dreams. This leads me to asking these vital questions: Who are you? What do you want from you? What are your dreams? If books will not answer these questions don’t we all owe ourselves the duty of finding the answers? Perhaps reading books that spur the need to look inwards and find what we are looking for may help.
Ultimately, an epic failure looms if you have to pretend to be someone else all your life, simply because a book says so. So look for yourself and, while in the process of finding you, do not forget to apply applicable standards according to your vision, lineament and temperament and in the spirit of good and right. Interestingly, you will continue to discover new things about yourself forever. Read by all means and write if you may, but do not forget that books will not change you. No doubt, you may be able to improve on who you are (which is a noble thing, anyway). However, you must accept who you are and continually strive to be a better person. My cousin once told me that I must read all the books to either tap from the author’s wisdom or to avoid his foolery. On this note, I submit that as much as it is good to read books we must ask the question: Do we really need all we read? Do we learn when we read them?
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