Friday, July 24, 2009

Lessons In Uncommon Places...

My husband loves reading and has a passion for history. Just the other night he rattled off a date of some event they were talking about on television…before the reporters gave the date. Although I don’t hold the same level of interest in history, I was still in awe at how quickly the information came to him-nothing short of amazing in my mind. He reads daunting books with 300, 400 and some even 500+ pages in length, all of them about history, ones that I only will glance at on the book shelf and sigh. For me, reading something with that fine print and thickness would be like trying to run a full marathon without training. I would wonder if I would be able to finish.

There has been no book that he has talked more about than “Uncommon Friends” by James Newton. It is a (357 page) book about the lives of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel and Charles Lindbergh. They are five 20th century giants known personally by very few – except for James Newton. Many know the accomplishments of these great men but Newton captures their lives on a personal level.

Since my husband spoke so highly of this book (and so frequently) I decided to open the book randomly and begin reading. I had no idea what would happen next. Not only did this author keep my attention, but he was able to colour a vivid picture of who Henry Ford was as a man. After I flew through just 10 or 12 pages of encouraging printed words, I decided to stop to share some pearls of wisdom from Henry Ford:

“The purpose of money is to provide more opportunity to perform more service. Short-sighted businessmen think first of money, but service is what really makes or breaks a business; without it, customers soon go elsewhere.”

“True happiness comes from the realization of accomplishment.”

“If money is your only hope for independence, you will never have it.”

“It’s our first duty to do the right thing, and this will earn us the right money.”

“We ought to think of our country as a servant of mankind. A trustworthy, righteous nation, whose joy is to help all people toward peace and progress. Except for idealists there would have been no United States."

These quotes contain tremendous power and wisdom. Valuable insights can be gleaned by examining the thought process of historical figures. Reading a large book on history is more of an uncommon place for me, but when I chose to go out of my comfort zone I was blessed with great wisdom to learn, grow and share. How about you? Is there an uncommon place you need to visit from which you could learn?

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