It is easy to see how reading is on the decline for many people today. With the rise of movies and TV with today’s technology, books have to work harder to compete with companies like Netflix. Then there are things we actually do read involving words, but those words are likely in a digital form on a blog or website. The printed versions of words come to us in the form of a newspaper or magazine. It takes a bit of effort then to find yourself reading a book. Most likely, the book is a recent release or a current best-seller.
Years ago I read a book called The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by former USC President Steven B. Sample (who passed away this year). It had a chapter about reading and explained something called the “fifty-year test.” This is a category of books that are still being read fifty years after they were written. Dr. Sample stated that reading these books will give you a deeper grasp of culture and perspective and set you apart from others. This is counter-intuitive (hence the book title) since most of us try to read to keep up with what’s going on right now. But I have noticed an unbelievable difference ever since I read that book and tried to pick my subsequent books accordingly. But how does a person ever get to a book which passes the fifty-year test that doesn’t completely bore them to sleep or drone on about irrelevant topics?