28. Knowledge

Often I hear people say they do not have time to read. That’s absolute nonsense. In the one year during which I kept that kind of record, I read twenty-five books while waiting for people. In offices, applying for jobs, waiting to see a dentist, waiting in a restaurant for friends, many such places. I read on buses, trains, and planes. If one really wants to learn, one has to decide what is important. Spending an evening on the town? Attending a ball game? Or learning something that can be with you your life long?


         — Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man


Known best for his western novels, Louis L’Amour was an interesting man who dropped out of school at the age of fifteen and committed himself to a life of adventure. For years he traveled the world by whatever means he could find and took odd jobs along with way, feeding his primary interests in learning and reading. When he established himself as an author of fiction and until his death in 1988 he wrote three books a year for his massive audience of devoted fans.


During his life and travels, L’Amour took those jobs that would provide him the best opportunity to read. In his memoirs, L’Amour claims that reading is a fundamental element in the life-long pursuit of knowledge. For L’Amour knowledge meant power, and more was better.


Books are the building blocks of civilization, for without the written word a man knows nothing beyond what occurs during his own brief years and, perhaps, in a few tales his parents tell him.


  — Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man


Here’s what author and historian Daniel Boorstin said about L’Amour’s appetite for reading:


Anyone who visited Louis in his spacious study with its sixteen-foot-high ceiling with walls of specially designed bookshelves will not be surprised. For the bookshelves that Louis designed were much like the man himself. Each tall row of shelves made a kind of book-covered door that could be swung open to reveal another sixteen-foot set of book-filled shelves fixed to the wall behind. Louis was a modest man, slow to reveal what he really knew.


Louis L’Amour is the only American novelist to have received the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, both awarded by Ronal Reagan. Visit L’Amour’s website for more information: http://www.louislamour.com/.



Days 28-30 Guide


This weekend consider developing a reading plan. Think of the times and places that you might work into your schedule for reading. Think of the subjects that interest you. A good way to start is to take a trip to bookstore with a pen and note cards, and jot down areas of interest – biographies, historical subjects, how-to guides, or philosophy.


I’d be interested to hear what you come up with. Send me an email — levi@thinkinginink.com.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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