We Must Read Tons of Books With A Clear Purpose
My new Benjamin Franklin-inspired goal: retire from full-time work at age 42. That is the long term mission as I start Season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen.
July 6, 2013 - 12:00 pm
On April 10 I announced the beginning of my 13 Weeks Radical Reading Regimen, my program to try and establish an organized reading routine so I could start plowing through my piles of books. On May 8, after the shock of a new kind of Jihadist terror attack, I amended the rules and shifted to make room for more diligent study of Islam. And then I promptly failed to live up to my goals.
I’ve fallen off my reading routine in the most important way: the recording my results part. I’ve had a hard time sticking to reporting my progress every Saturday ala Charlie Martin and Sarah Hoyt.
But now as we step up as a section and really strive to make Saturday an all-around 13 Weeks Self Improvement day my excuses need to end. I can’t push Charlie, Sarah, Rhonda Robinson, and other PJM writers to stick to a regimen if I can’t find the discipline to document my own routine.
And really that’s what this is all about — trying to establish disciplined habits so we can change ourselves. That’s why I read so much. I want to find, develop, and implement new ideas to improve not just my life but everyone’s. And I want to encourage others to explore these questions and use books in this way.
That was my attempt during the first half of the year with the PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf and Daily Question features. I sought to excerpt an interesting passage from a book that I read, juxtapose it with an image, videos, or another book’s excerpt, and then encourage discussion without imposing my own perspective on readers. But that didn’t work as well as I hoped. Commenters sometimes didn’t know what to make of the juxtapositions and some even accused me of being lazy by not writing my own paragraphs spelling out explicitly why I valued the quote.
Fine. I surrender. For season 2 of my Radical Reading Regimen, starting on Monday, I’m going to push myself to make time to share my readings each day. I’ll be more diligent about always giving myself even just 15 minutes to read one of my books and find at least one excerpt worth sharing along with an idea for people to consider. (Though I’ll strive to read pieces from multiple books each morning, sharing the excerpt on Instagram — my new preferred social network of choice — before blogging about the excerpt in relation to the day’s news stories.)
On the fourth of July I started reading Gordon Wood’s The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. And it hooked me. The story of a young, ambitious printer starting at the bottom in colonial America and climbing to the top of the young City on a Hill, becoming one of the most consequential Revolutionaries, has inspired me to do likewise. In particular, I’m taking Franklin’s career path: work is for suckers, if Franklin could manage to retire at age 42 in order to live out the rest of his life as a “gentlemen” — a concept largely lost today but worth reviving — then why can’t all of us?
We forget a lot of the time that Benjamin Franklin was essentially the Breitbart blogger of his day…