Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Book To Make You Think

As a writer, I understand the value of education, and in today’s atmosphere of rising expenses, I also understand why schools are feeling that currency noose tightening around their academic necks.

Good schooling—if it’s doing its job—teaches you how to learn. When I got my bachelor’s degree, my cousin, an Oxford-trained psychologist, told me, “Now your education really begins.”

School should give you the tools to continue your education.

I’ve heard many people point to Bill Gates as an example of why education is not so important. Gates dropped out of college and began Microsoft. So if you think you’ve got a shot to follow in those software footprints…good luck!

I think a far better example of a dropout making the grade is Louis LaMour. LaMour, one of America’s most prolific writers, dropped out of high school in Jamestown, North Dakota at age 15 and became a wandering man. He did a little of everything from sailing on merchant ships to working in a mine to boxing in small western towns. But he never…never, paused his education.

You see, Lamour was in love with books. As prolific a writer as he was, he was even more prolific a reader. Books were his intoxicants. He devoured them. He was addicted to them. He spent most of his eighty years of life in the company of them.

I’ve heard many young people today say that they just don’t have time to read. That phrase was one of Lamour’s pet peeves. He called it absolute nonsense. So he kept a personal record one year. He found that he had read twenty-five books while just waiting for people—waiting for them in restaurants, or in doctor’s offices, or while waiting for a bus…just waiting.

And he asks a vital question when he wants to know what’s more important—a night on the town or learning something that can be with you a lifetime?

LaMour is best known for writing westerns, like Hondo and The Haunted Mesa. But if there’s one Louis Lamour book I would recommend, it would be Education of a Wandering Man. I’ve read that book three times, and it has never failed to entertain and educate me. If you’ve never read a Louis Lamour book, then start with this one.

And if you are a Lamour fan but haven’t got to Education of a Wandering Man yet; it’s time you did so. I think it’s one of those books that can be enormously influential.

                Because it will make you think…

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