Sunday, May 2, 2010

Keys to a Well-Read Life

One of my favorite magazines is Fast Company (, because I find it to be outstanding in terms of pushing and expanding my thoughts, keeping me tech savvy and introducing me to non traditional approaches to management of both my personal life and business techniques.  I also like that it is as appropriate for entrepreneurs as for nonprofit executives and business owners from small to global in scale.

The May issue letter from the editor (which I often find to be the best spot for oft-overlooked and well-written musings in a magazine) by Jane Berentson caught my eye with its quip regarding the habit of article clipping by the editor's parents.

While not earth-shattering, I think this is an interesting trend among fantastic parents (obviously, mine did it and continue to do so into my thirties).  It indicates, obviously, that the parents are well-read, which is the best indicator that a child will develop a lifelong love of reading and learning.  There's an obvious degree of caring, as well, and well-intentioned involvement.  The clippings I received ranged from  investment advice to travel articles, not-so-subtle Dear Abby columns, gardening pointers and even a number related to interests of mine that my parents may not necessarily share, such as snippets on France or green living.

Regarding the point about well-read parents: I cite this as the most obvious reason my sister and I both possess above-average language and grammar skills.  I don't say this to be haughty - I'm simply struck by the number of our contemporaries who struggle with spelling and grammar.

I always laugh about how I "got away" with reading under the covers late into the night with a flashlight, far past my bedtime (as if my parents were't aware).  Dad's office was a virtual library of the classics, and I'm now more prone to pick up a classic than a modern release.  I'm prone to a number of melancholy greats (Hemingway, Steinbeck) as well as lighter, worldly fare (Peter Mayle, Isabel Allende).  The point being, I'm thankful every day for these assets and the treasure of a literary upbringing, and hope to instill the same in my growing family.

Incidentally, is an absolutely fantastic site for finding good book recommendations.  Unlike most social media tools, I don't connect with the world - just a handful of well-read friends whose judgement I trust (a significant number of whom are or are becoming librarians, not ironically).  Do give it a whirl, and I suspect, like me, you'll find your "to read" list far outnumbers your "read" list in short order.

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