Monday, December 17, 2007

Send me a man who reads.

When I was a child by family subscribed to “Reader’s Digest.” I was always the first one to grab it. The second thing I did was go through and read all the jokes. But the very first thing I read, even before all the jokes and cute stories, was an ongoing ad series by The International Paper Company. It was a series of biographies and vignettes about people and what they liked to read. The title and punch line was always “Send me a man who reads.” ( I understand that this series ran in several national magazines in 1960-61.)

The whole point of the series was that reading is the single most affective habit and the greatest skill we can possess. There is no greater predictor of success in life than how much and what a person reads.

I am constantly amazed at the amount of information available on virtually every subject. There are books, magazines, videos, conventions, conferences, trade organizations, and on-line forums on any and every thing a person can think of. The bottom line is this: there is no excuse for ignorance.

For a Christian, primary reading should be the Bible, but after that the possibilities seem endless. The Bible has inspired more writing than any other subject in history. There are commentaries, study guides, insights, and opinions on anything a person would ever need to know.

But reading other subjects is also worthwhile. I would not consider any major endeavor without first reading everything I can find on the subject. Before we opened Homer’s Coffee House, I read six or seven books about coffee for example. I am constantly amazed by people who have very limited knowledge about an activity that they are deeply involved with, when all they need to do visit the library or a bookstore and find tons of literature about the subject.

It’s simple – “just send me a person who reads.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

There is a lion in the street!

Ever since I have been involved in retail, I have been trying to figure out the relationship between the weather and the amount of customers. This week I finally figured it out.

The weather has very little effect on business, but the weather forecast has a lot. Monday and Tuesday the television news was filled with gloom and doom – we are all going to die – news of an impending ice storm. Throughout those days we had steady rain, but the temperature remained near or above freezing with little to no ice on the streets. Business was down by 50%. (Other areas did fair worse, but our city dodged the ice.)

Finally the fear mongers got tired, the temperature dropped into the 20’s, and today with icy streets, business is back to normal. Would somebody like to explain this to me?

Proverbs 22:13 says, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside!’ or, ‘I will be murdered in the streets!’” Ecclesiastes 11:4 says, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”

The victory belongs to the ones who are willing to go out and face the world, not huddle in front of their TV’s hearing about how bad things are. This applies not just to the weather, but in every other situation as well.