Reading may save your life


Reading may save your life

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reading may save your life

By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service


(ANS) — A few days ago, I read something that caught my attention. The essence of the message was that reading is active. You must be alive and involved in the process. Contrast that kind of learning with watching a film or listening to a lecture, which may be inactive.

Active and participatory learning means you are on the court and in the game. Passive learning or picking up a little bit of what may fall on you and perhaps by some method closely akin to osmosis you absorb some morsel of truth and information. To read, you must get involved in the process.

I just noticed in my library of thousands of books a 1990 Zondervan publication by one of my favorite people, Dr. Ben Carson, world famous pediatric surgeon of Johns Hopkins University Hosptial, titled Gifted Hands. One of the turning points in the life of Ben Carson and his brother, Curtis, was when their non-reading mother insisted that her Detroit elementary public school sons read books and write book reports on them for her to check.

These boys began to read and soon were no longer failing, but making good grades. We would all do better if we were more active in the learning process. George B. Emerson, American educator of the 19th century said, “If we encountered a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read.”

I am reading the unusual book on reading, Read for Your Life, written by the energetic and engaging, Pat Williams, senior vice president of the Orlando Magic of the NBA. Health Communication, Inc. of Deerfield Beach, Florida published this fascinating book.

This line on the back cover merits serious consideration: “The lifetime gift of literacy is inside this book. Unleash it!” Read it and learn how to: “(1) Minimize distractions and maximize your reading time. (2) Develop a personalized program to read more often. (3) Discover how reading can improve your mental well-being, your outlook on life, and your level of success in your career.”

Phil Jackson, head coach of the world champion NBA Los Angeles Lakers, writes these words in the Foreword to the powerful Pat Williams book: “I grew up in a reading home. My mom was a regular reader, and our house was constantly filled with books on a wide variety of topics. My mother influenced me to start reading when I was five years old. She would tape Scriptures to the wall for us to memorize. In our house, we had the Bible and we had books about the Bible. That’s what I read. Then we got a set of the World Book Encyclopedia, and I read every volume. That love of reading Mom inspired has only grown over the years.”

My favorite NBA coach continues with words about this great book: “Reading makes your mind sharp, alive, vibrant. It keeps you on the cutting edge.” He refers to reading as “a safeguard against old age.”

Pat Williams writes about “11 ways to transform your life with books.” He quotes Christopher Morley, early twentieth-century writer and editor, with saying, “The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking.”

Pliny, the Elder, of the first century said of another, “He picked something valuable out of everything he read.” It was Edmund Burke, English orator of the eighteenth-century, who said: “To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.”

John, a disciple of Jesus wrote: “And I suppose that if all the other events in Jesus’ life were written, the whole world could hardly contain the books!” (John 21:25, The Living Bible)

A final caution from Thomas Babington Macaulay, English critic and historian is worth noting: “A page digested is better than a volume hurriedly read.” Read on, my friend, read on.


Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is the writer of more than 2,000 newspaper and magazine columns, articles and contributions to books. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest who utilizes enjoyment of life and just plain fun and laughter while speaking to high school, university and professional sports teams as well as to business and professional groups of all kinds. His keen understanding of human problems makes him a favorite speaker for youth, parent, and senior adult meetings. He is accompanied by Kitty, his wife, favorite singer, editor and publisher.

For information on becoming a subscriber to the Ellis Column for your newspaper or magazine, you may contact him at: BILL ELLIS, P.O.Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560 or by calling: 304-757-6089.

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This story is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of the ASSIST News Service or ASSIST Ministries.

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Special to ASSIST News Service–>

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