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It’s on your bookshelf by Jim Aitkin

Summers are made for reading, but before you head to the store, take a look at the books you already have, says Jim Aitkin


We generally buy books we want to read; books that we believe will make an impact in some way. And those are the books we keep on the bookshelf after we’ve read them.

The non-fiction books we buy in hope that they might help solve a problem or help us see things in a different light, are the ones that stand to make the greatest impact. But if you’re like me, you, too often, don’t study those books. You merely read them. And when you do, you read too fast (because you want fast relief).

Worse yet is when we don’t even finish reading a good book. We let it sit there on the coffee table, end table, nightstand, or in the I’ll-keep-it-here-in-the-open-to-remind-me-to-pick-up-and-resume-reading-as-soon-as-I-have-the-time-and focus-this-book-deserves area… wherever that is.

This book, or stack of books, is too good – contains too much important and needful information – to put on the shelf… for a while. We know this material contains an epiphany or two, but we also know it will take time and focus to really immerse ourselves into it – time and focus we don’t have… not right now.

Not yet. But then the day arrives when guests are coming over for dinner and we finally ‘break up’ with all the books we’ve been stringing along in this ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you’ one-sided, abusive relationship we have been carrying on with them.

One-sided and abusive? Damn straight!

These faithful books sit right where we put them without moving, gathering dust, attracting wine and coffee stains. They don’t ask for much; what, a half hour a week? Yet we ignore them for extended periods of time. And then occasionally, usually while hurrying past in the morning, we lie to them. We occasionally glance at them and say to them, ‘I know you’ve been holding in some really important stuff you want to share with me. I will hang out with you for a little while this evening for sure!’ And why do we lie? So we’ll feel better, less guilty, that’s why. So then, finally and unceremoniously, these books get assigned to a place on the shelf, a little more out of sight and quite a bit more out of mind.

While placing the ‘new’ unread books on the shelf, we try not to look directly at the ‘old’ unread books already there. Shame on us.

Okay, I’m being a little silly. But isn’t it even more silly to not read or finish reading a book you know contains information and perspective that you need?

One of the answers you are looking for in your life right now is contained in one of the books on your bookshelf… right now.

With the possible exception of this awesome magazine, say ‘No’ to whatever you have to in order to say ‘Yes’ to one of these neglected treasures on your shelf. When you do, don’t just read; study. Underline. Take notes. Share with others what you’re learning and how you are being positively impacted.

Press forward with the progress you were reaching for when you picked up such books the first time.


The Best You

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