Reading Read (Leonard, that is)

Like many others, I resolved that 2013 would be different. Chagrined as I was regarding the difference between the expected and actual trajectory of my habits in 2012, I made yet another January resolution. New Year’s Resolutions are awkward things. We welcome them one month and show them the door the next, like lingering houseguests. To be honest, I have made my share of resolutions, and also have a trampled path leading to the metaphorical exit. Resolutions come and resolutions go; praise the god of annual good intentions.

Despite my questionable resolution history, I still vowed to make this year’s “houseguest” a family member. I resolved to read more in 2013. I had grown weary of adding yet more volumes to the “to read” stack, while not substantially adding to the “have read” stack. The former will certainly always dwarf the latter, but I wanted this year to be remembered as one that contributed significantly to “have read’s” stature. By the second week of January, I was inching for the door, mentally preparing to unbolt the lock and escort Resolution 2013 across the threshold. I had failed again and it was better to admit the fact rather than continuously telling myself otherwise. Professional resolution breakers like myself have learned to see the signs early.

Late in January though, as I was reaching for the doorknob to finish the deed, something quite unexpected happened. Someone (whose name is pronounced exactly the same as Michael Minkoff’s) put a Kindle in my hand with instructions to read such-and-such a book. I found the whole affair somewhat strange, but I took the electronic reading device in hand without much thought and began doing the very thing I resolved to do: I read. I read at home; I read during lunch; I read in waiting rooms; I read while walking. I was hooked. Within a week I had my own Kindle and had finished more books than I had in the whole of 2012 (I have a bad habit of not seeing books through to the end, but that was last year’s version of me).

Whether my current reading habits will continue remains to be seen, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share with you, dear readers, some of what I have been reading. If nothing else, I would like to suggest good books and reasons to consider reading them to interested Political Outcast subscribers.

The first book I would like to draw to your attention is a little one by Leonard Read entitled How Do We Know? There are several reasons why this book is worthy of your notice, but here are the primary consumer-related ones: it is cheap (free actually), it is short (128 pages), it is easy to read (5 page chapters on average), and it is filled with great quotations from great minds throughout human history. If you need more reasons than this to download this little gem then there is probably little else that I could offer in the way of persuasion. However, I will copy part of the book’s description here in a final effort to gain your interest:

If you could use some inspiration to redouble your efforts to teach yourself how freedom works its wonders, then this is just the book for you. Read especially inspires the autodidact in this book is by his own example. Read was aptly named indeed, for he read everything! And he peppers all his essays with wisdom he has mined from the great, but now neglected, tradition of western letters. Everyone from Roman poets to Enlightenment philosophers are quoted to great effect. Read was a master at marshaling the wisdom of antiquity for the modern case for liberty.

With that said, go now and download this book. Read it (it won’t take long, I promise) and report back next week.