I don’t often get excited about books. We have a sordid affair. I never liked reading much as a kid…maybe it was the continuous pounding I received in grade school over reading. It was always a competition. Who could read more books? Who had the “I Read 100 Books” t-shirt? I just didn’t like it. So, once I got further along school, I stopped reading for “fun”. I only remember reading 2 real books from 3rd grade on: The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever and Ramona Quimby Age: 8.
I really do like to read in spite of it all, but I must be engaged. I enjoy historical books with a lot of pictures. I enjoy books that contain facts, short stories, and lists. I need rapid change to hold my interest. As I perused the classics available for my Amazon Kindle, I mostly went for the timeless classics every book lover should own. Aesop, Grimm’s, The Wizard of Oz…but nothing that really said, “Read me now”.
As I was shopping, I saw it. I’m not sure what made me click it…The University of Hard Knocks. The tune from Annie played in the background of my mind…”It’s the hard knock life…for us!” I read the customer reviews…there are 3 at the time of this writing. Well, it’s free, I’ll give it a shot. I haven’t been able to put it down since.
The University of Hard Knocks is a figurative school, but it’s lessons are far from figurative. The idea behind this University is the education one receives from one’s life experiences, and how they put that knowledge to use. Are you easily educated or hard-headed? Ralph Parlette uses a number of personal stories and object lessons in an artful and interesting plea for you to see that living life is the only true education. Formal education only gives us finer tools, but no experience in how to use them.
He begs you to see that if you are not actively learning, giving, and serving then you are not genuinely moving upward. He draws an equal sign between the executive and the janitor. He advises on teaching children how to support themselves rather than buying them a way through life. This book is categorized as a classic, but its language and meaning are very much relevant to today. In its pages you will find that you already know how to be great and how to be happy…you just have to use your experience in the right way to take you upward.
You will find the most important lessons of life in this book. That is why I am including it here, courtesy of Project Gutenberg, for download. Download it, read it, and change your world for the better…a vibrant person you will always be.