Get A Library Card. Read Books. Be Smarter.

The Oatmeal.

Read the link first before continuing with this post.

Yes, probably like everyone else, I checked the first three sources. And then I accepted the new fact (but I wondered if they came from the living or from corpses).

The rest of the sources I didn’t have to check because I knew many.

I knew many because I read books. Many, many books. I’m up to reading my 22nd book of this year.

There is absolutely no excuse for the ignorance and stupidity that overflows in America.

We have public libraries. Many of which were bestowed upon us by Andrew Carnegie, via the blood, sweat, tears, heartbreak, and deaths of his workers who created the wealth he gave away. To ignore such beneficence is to disrespect the men, women, and children whose labor made it possible.

I was not brought up around books other than comic books. I hated real books that didn’t have superheroes in them.

But I was brought up in a time when public schools still taught us about libraries and schools even had libraries within them. One of our required homework assignments was to get a public library card. I’d like to say that event changed my life and made me fall in love with real books, but no.

But I kept renewing my library card. And the life-changing day is lost in the mists of memory, but I know what happened that got me to read books: I stumbled upon tales of people getting rich.

I can’t recall many of those book titles today (some will be at the end of this as prior post links), but none of them were self-help. They were inspirational stories of clever people who figured out ways the system worked and found a niche within it that created their fortunes.

Forget something like Think and Grow Rich. It can be too abstract and can always be read later. There is nothing more inspirational in the world than reading about actual people who started with nothing figuring it all out and winding up as kings of the hills they managed to create out of nothing.

What better motivates an American to read than the prospect of wealth?

I say nothing is better than that.

And once you’re attracted to books through such selfishness, you come to realize that not only can reading be fun, but that to get rich like the people you read about, you need to know a hell of a lot more than you do and especially a hell of a lot more than they will ever teach you in school.

So you browse the library shelves and — I swear to god this will happen, because it always does — you will be led to the next book you should read. It could be the title, a fragment of a title, a glimpse of the cover. And it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non-fiction, grab it and read it. And continue on to the next one and the next one and the next one. Don’t ask why, just read.

And what will happen in your mind is a web of associations that will cause you to seek out specific books on your own, without needing the Spirit of the Library to guide you (although it will always be there to help).

And that is how you start on the road to not being an American moron.

You’ll stop being bamboozled by people who can convince you with their mouths, or with slick ad copy, or with shiny products that don’t live up to their hype.

You can stop yourself from being cheated, from being swindled, from being suckered.

And you can be a better friend to your friends by helping them navigate the landmines of lies that are scattered out there waiting for them to step on like an ignorant sucker.

And then you can convince them to get a library card too.


You WANT These Books: They Nearly Made Me Buy A Kindle!
Instant Millionaires: Joseph E. Hrudka


The Most Dangerous Place in NYC
Hemorrhaging the Neural Net
01/25/08 Reading
God Bless All Librarians
“Slow Word” Should Meet “Super-Slow Reading”
“Public Libraries … [Are] Houses Of Death”
1908: Andrew Carnegie
Succeeding With What You Have
Claude M. Bristol: The Magic Of Believing

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1 Response to Get A Library Card. Read Books. Be Smarter.

  1. Martin says:


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