In the late 1800s, a six hundred pages book entitled, The Royal Path of Life, written by T. L. Haines and L. W. Yaggy, M.S became popular both in refined East and in the pioneer West (It’s hard to get this book, but there is website http://royalpathoflife.com/ where you can get to read it online). It is filled with great maxims, observations, and homespun wisdom. Here are some parts from the chapter entitled “Reading”:
There are four classes of readers. The first is like the hour-glass; and its reading being on the sand, it runs in and runs out and leaves no vestige behind. A second is like a sponge, which imbibes everything, and returns it in the same state, only a little dirtier. A third is like a jelly bag, allowing all that is pure to pass away, and retaining only the refuse and dregs. The fourth is like the slaves in the diamond mines of Golconda, who, casting aside all that is worthless, obtain only pure gems.
One's reading is, usually, a fair index of his character... "A man is known," it is said, "by the company he keeps." It is equally true that a man's character may be, to a great extent, ascertained by knowing what books he reads.
You cannot afford to read a bad book, however good you are. You say, "The influence is insignificant." I tell you that the scratch of a pin has sometimes produced the lockjaw.
To those who plead the want of time to read, we would say, be as frugal of your hours as you are of your dollars, and you can create time in the busiest day.
Master your reading, and let it never master you. Then it will serve you with an ever-increasing fidelity. Only read books aright, and they will charge your mind with the true electric fire. Take them up as among your best friends; and every volume you peruse will join the great company of joyous servitors who will wait around your immortal intellect. Then, too, your daily character will bear the signatures of the great minds you commune with in secret. And, as the years pass on, you will walk in the light of an ever-enlarging multitude of well-chosen, silent, but never-erring guides.
To read with profit, the books must be of a kind calculated to inform the mind, correct the head, and better the heart. These books should be read with attention, understood, remembered, and their precepts put in practice. It depends less on number than quality. One good book, well understood and remembered, is of more use than to have a superficial knowledge of fifty, equally sound. Books of the right character produce reflection, and induce investigation. They are a mirror of mind, for mind to look in. Of all the books ever written, no one contains so instructive, so sublime, and so great a variety as the Bible. Resolve to read three chapters each day, for one year, and you will find realities there, more wonderful than any pictures of fiction that have been drawn by the pencilling of the most practiced novel writer in the dazzling galaxy of ancient or modern literature.
“We are what we read” (Anonymous)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.