15 March 2013
Day Four - 4 Books
Books are my sweet escape. Most importantly reading consistently gives me a much-needed break from my thoughts. I'm always analyzing and thinking about things and people and situations to the point of giving myself headaches. So reading has always been my safe place. It fills my head with other people's words and thoughts when I can't handle my own. It is very difficult to pick four because I can never get enough of my favorite books and the list of favorites is endless. So in no particular order...
The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)- I tend to come late to these parties... when everyone around me is fussing over something, I tend to go the opposite direction and stay away from it. And so it was with Harry. Until a friend forced me to watch the first movie a week before the second one was going to release. Afterwards I went home and immediately started reading (my brother's copies). These books hold so much inside them. There's a lesson for everyone. It is wrong to call it a children's book. The reader's age is irrelevant here. Harry's unyielding courage, Hermione's relentless drive, Ron's eternal loyalty, Snape's undying love, Dumbledore's infinite wisdom, Sirius's unbreakable devotion... I could go on. The magic isn't just in the spells!
The Power of Habit (Charles Duhigg)- this is one book that has changed my life. I learned so much about people, about myself, about human behavior. I learned why I started doing the things I do, why I continue to do them, why I will never stop, and how I can if I really want to. Everyone should read this book.
The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)- this one is a classic. My favorite thing about this book is its characters. This is not a book about good people vs bad people. It's about the good AND the bad that exists within each of us. Integrity is an undervalued virtue and it's importance is highlighted beautifully in this book.
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World (John Wood)- one of the most inspirational stories to come from this generation. John Wood was a high-ranking executive at Microsoft who went on a trip to Nepal to get away from his stressful job. One day in Nepal he happened to visit a school and commented on the fact that there were about a handful of books for the entire school. One local man said "Perhaps, sir, one day you'll come back with books." Later that day, Mr.Wood sent an email to everyone in his address book with the subject line "Books for Nepal". What started as a book drive for a school in rural Nepal has turned into an organization called Room to Read that has been opened over 15,000 libraries and 1600 schools in the developing world. Room to Read is solely responsible for changing the lives of almost 8 million children. Reading this book made me realize that access to education is not something to be taken for granted. I am lucky to have been born to parents that not only value education but can afford to give me that education. It is no longer acceptable to say that it is "unfortunate" for a child to not have opportunities simply because of where he/she was born. I defy anyone not to be moved by Mr.Wood's story.