Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reading Is Fundamental

I am unapologetically a child of the 70’s and 80’s. These were the years of my childhood and teens. Since we only had three or four channels on TV back then, reading was much more of a common activity for kids than it is today. My mom was a huge advocate for reading, and took me to the library at least once a week. I remember a certain ad campaign back then for the Reading Is Fundamental Program, or RIF as it was often referred. RIF was the first non-profit organization that encouraged kids to read more and touted the value of books in the lives of children. One of the earliest commercials I remember was a RIF PSA from the early 70's that used the song ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’. Suffice to say, the love of reading was instilled in me early on. Later, in the 1980’s, RIF was one of the first PSA’s that I can remember where celebrities were used to compel one into action. One of my favorites is this one with Ed Asner who says, “Give a kid a book and you’ll give a kid a break.” Well, RIF has come into the 21st Century, and now has this great PSA called Book People Unite. It again uses music, this time a funky little rap tune. I'm hoping it has the same effect on the kids of today as the RIF PSAs did on me, that being they made me want to read.

Although RIF’s goals as an organization are focused on childhood reading, I’ve found that many of the young adults with whom I work are also lacking in the area of being well read. In my generation, we had far fewer things vying for our attention. Now, with the evolution of technology and cable television, books are usually on the losing end of the battle for what both children and adults choose to do with their spare time. When it comes to being successful, however, there is no substitute for the knowledge that one can acquire through reading. For this reason, I have decided to list a few key books that can make a huge impact in the life of a budding music entrepreneur. No matter how many years have passed since Margaret McNamara founded RIF in 1966, reading is and always will be fundamental for anyone who wishes to be a success at anything.

One of the best books to help someone really define their dream and what they really want to do with their life is Put Your Dream To The Test by John C. Maxwell. Maxwell has written several books, most of which are on leadership, and he is considered an expert in the field of success. Put Your Dream To The Test, however, is a little different. It helps one understand the difference between a dream and wishful thinking. It will also help one gain more focus and gives practical steps to take to REALLY make one’s dream come true.

Another book that was a life-changer for me was The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. After reading this book, I was suddenly able to see exactly what decisions I was making that were keeping me from achieving my goals. After reading it, at least when I made decisions that moved me further away from my goals; I knew exactly what I was doing. It will remove all the excuses one may have as to why they’ve not been successful. Ultimately, life is about the choices we make. No book illustrates this more than The Slight Edge.

One of the books we are reading at Full Sail for my Entertainment Business Finance class this month is Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad Poor Dad. I was really glad to see this book used as a textbook, as it contains some of the most important concepts about money that one could possibly learn. This was one of the first books I read when I started my Amway business, and will forever be grateful to Kiyosaki for sharing his knowledge. His illustration of the cashflow quadrant was one of the most influential things I learned when I started as a network marketer. There’s a great YouTube video that briefly illustrates the concept, but this is only a brief summary. There is no substitute for the wealth of knowledge that can be found in the actual book. True success cannot be found in shortcuts, so get the book!

Finally, instead of one book, I recommend the entire works of one particular author by the name of Og Mandino. While Og passed away in 1996, he left behind a legacy of books that will truly change one’s life on a spiritual level. He is a storyteller at heart, so his books are not only inspiring but entertaining as well. I have read every book he has ever penned, some two or three times. His thought process on creating a life of intention and purpose is something that no self-respecting entrepreneur can do without.

As I continue through my life’s journey, I continue to collect more and more books. Although I have recommended a few here, there are many more out there that are just waiting to be discovered. One thing I know for sure, reading is one of the best things you can do to improve your chances of success in anything. In fact, when it comes to success, reading truly is fundamental. So pick up a book next time you have the urge to turn on the TV. Your future you will thank you.

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