Read Your Way Forward

Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the United States and he had several achievements to his credit, such as being an author, printer, political theorist, scientist, statesman and diplomat. Not only was he said to have exemplified the emerging America, he also played a foundational role in the definition of the values upon which the nation was build. It is, therefore, amazing to note that he had less than two years of formal education. His father couldn’t afford to send him to school beyond that level, so, he practically read himself to his achievements. Benjamin Franklin was referred to as a voracious reader and several books and articles have been written about his personal library.

Another icon that is worthy of attention is Michael Faraday. As in the case of Benjamin Franklin, Michael Faraday had only the most basic education, after which he educated himself. At the age of fourteen, he became an apprentice to a local bookbinder and bookseller and was reported to have read several books during his seven-year apprenticeship. After his apprenticeship, he attended scientific lectures delivered by Humphry Davy, one of the leading scientists of his day. Michael Faraday took notes from the lectures and later bound his notes into a three-hundred-page book and sent it to Davy who was really impressed. When the need arose, Davy employed Faraday to work for him and the rest is history; of course, we know that Michael Faraday later made major discoveries such as electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

If we examine the lives of several other successful people, we will discover that they all have something in common- reading. Let us adopt a common sense approach here. We expect a studious student to excel but, if a student does not study for his/her examination, we assume failure is imminent. Hence, whether consciously or unconsciously, we equate studying or reading with success.  Again, most people would agree that life is a life-long school. How is it then that we don’t consider it necessary to read in order to deal with our daily challenges? Do you think you are the first person in your position? Do you think no one has ever gotten to where you are? Of course not! There are books on almost every topic or career that there is. When last did you read a book to update your information? You don’t know how much you don’t know until you open up yourself to more information.