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Gaining Wisdom

by David DeFord

Motivation isn't enough
Much good can be accomplished if we have the right motivation. This motivation often spawns from a defining moment that triggers us to say, "Enough!"

However, motivation alone will not always get us to our goals-vision, planning, action, and discipline must be employed.

Skill building
Imagine setting a goal to double your income in five years. There are many paths to achieving that goal-new job, start a business, write a book. You could choose dozens of actions to get yourself there.

Most likely, you'll need to learn and build new skills. You will, at least, need to improve and broaden your existing skills.

Balanced learning
To enhance our opportunities, we can spend our entire lives building our learning and wisdom.

Study a variety of subjects. Don't confine yourself to one area of learning. If you have good knowledge in several areas, you can adapt your career to meet the market demands.

Through balancing your study, you also become a more engaging conversationalist. You'll also better understand world events.

Building a library
Business philosopher Jim Rohn suggests that we should leave three important things behind for our families:
• our life in pictures
• our life written in our journals, and
• an abundant library

Building a library is a wonderful labor of love. We not only build up ourselves, but also our families as we build our libraries.

Areas of study
Rohn also suggests some sections for your library:
• History
• Philosophy
• Biographies and autobiographies
• Law
• Fine literature
• Accounting
• Economics
• Culture (Art, music, dance)

I would add the following sections:
• Spirituality
• Business
• Personal development

As we build our skills, seek balance in our learning, and build great libraries, we position ourselves for success in all areas of our lives: our personal lives, our family lives, our spiritual lives, our business lives, and our financial lives.

Balanced success through balanced learning.

Related Quotes:
"Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune."
Jim Rohn

"Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins."
Jim Rohn

"Never begrudge the money you spend on your own education."
Jim Rohn

"To earn more, you must learn more."
Brian Tracy

"None of us...knows enough. The learning process is an endless process. We must read, we must observe, we must assimilate, and we must ponder that to which we expose our minds."
Gordon B. Hinckley

Related Reading

A Short History of the World - Geoffrey Blainey
From the back jacket: Brilliantly narrated by a distinguished historian, this is the story of the world's people during the last four million years, beginning before the human race moved out of Africa to explore and settle the other continents. Geoffrey Blainey concentrates on the development of technology and skills, the rise of major religions, and the role of geography; he is concerned not only with major transformations but also with what people ate and how hard they worked in order to earn their bread, and with how they saw the universe. His narrative casts an unmistakable spell.

Don't Know Much About History : Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis

The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time by Will Durant
From Publishers Weekly
This engaging, accessible book of essays from Pulitzer Prize-winning philosopher and historian Durant, author of the authoritative 11-volume Story of Civilization, should be essential reading for anyone interested in the evolution of thought. Little, the founder and director of The Will Durant Foundation, includes in his slim compendium such works as "The One Hundred 'Best' Books For an Education" and "Twelve Vital Dates in World History." Durant's "The Ten 'Greatest' Thinkers" details minds as enlightening as Confucius and as influential as Darwin, whom Durant says "reduced man to an animal fighting for his transient mastery of the globe." "The Ten 'Greatest' Poets," charts a course from Homer's brilliance to Dante's haunted heart to Whitman's "frank and lusty" originality, in prose peppered with biographical bon mots and excerpts of the world's loveliest poems. Lay folks especially will find this a delightful introduction to Durant's irrepressible style. What else would one expect from Durant, an intellect who, when asked, "Whom in all of history would you most like to have known?" drolly replied, "Madame de Pompadour."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Basic Teachings of the Great Philosophers by S.E. Frost
From the Publisher: A complete summary of the views of the most important philosophers in Western civilization. Each major field of philosophic inquiry comprises a separate chapter for greater accessibility. Includes Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Dewey, Sartre, and many others.

Philosophy: The Basics by Nigel Warburton
Philosophy: The Basics is the book for anyone coming to philosophy for the first time. Nigel Warburton's popular book gently eases the reader into the world of philosophy. Each chapter considers a key area of philosophy, explaining and exploring the basic ideas and themes.

James Madison: (The American Presidents Series), by Garry Wills
From the inside cover: In this concise and marvelously readable examination of Madison's life and career, the renowned historian Garry Wills outlines the confluence of unfortunate circumstance, misplaced temperment, and outright poor judgment that bogged down Madison's presidency. Though a brilliant theoretician and effective legislator and collaborator, he was not a natural leader of men, and the absence of leadership was keenly felt during wartime.

Benjamin Franklin : An American Life, by Walter Isaacson
From Amazon.com: Benjamin Franklin, writes journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson, was that rare Founding Father who would sooner wink at a passer-by than sit still for a formal portrait. What's more, Isaacson relates in this fluent and entertaining biography, the revolutionary leader represents a political tradition that has been all but forgotten today, one that prizes pragmatism over moralism, religious tolerance over fundamentalist rigidity, and social mobility over class privilege. That broadly democratic sensibility allowed Franklin his contradictions, as Isaacson shows... Ben Franklin regularly went without food in order to buy books. His example, as always, is a good one--and this is just the book to buy with the proceeds from the grocery budget. --Gregory McNamee

Sam Walton: Made in America: My Story

Inc. Yourself: How to Profit by Setting Up Your Own Corporation by Judith H. McQuown More than two decades ago, when former Wall Street portfolio analyst Judith H. McQuown first sat down to write the inaugural edition of Inc. Yourself, the incorporation of a small company was a fairly simple procedure undertaken by relatively few refugees from the then-burgeoning safe haven of big-time corporate America. But while the appeal and the underlying need for striking out on one's own have increased markedly in the interim, the continual passage of major tax-law changes has ensured that incorporation is no longer such an uncomplicated process. Accordingly, in this ninth edition of her bestselling primer, McQuown still outlines the core information necessary to turn any enterprise into a separate legal entity replete with all of the rights, privileges, and liabilities that such a move entails. But she also updates those suggestions for today's small businesses whenever appropriate, and bolsters them with important details on newly available options for pension plans, organizing the venture, and sheltering its income from taxation. --Howard Rothman

The Law of Corporations: In a Nutshell by Robert W. Hamilton
Calvin Coolidge said: "The business of America is business." From the mom and pop store to giant international companies, today's form of business is typically the corporation. This Nutshell will tell you why, and it will introduce you to the unique characteristics of this modern creation: corporate autonomy, transferability and even a kind of immortality. This text will get you literate enough in the language of the corporation to be comfortable with this fundamental part of business law. Once corporations become familiar figures, you'll be able to address exam questions more quickly and accurately.

Taxes and Business Strategy: A Planning Approach by Myron S. Scholes, et. al.
A text for those interested in investment banking, corporate finance, strategy consulting, venture capital, and money management, providing topical coverage of tax arbitrage, employee stock options, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, and international expansion. Previous edition: c1992. DLC: Business enterprises--Taxation--Law and legislation

Fine Literature
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
For me, this great work represents the most inspiring story in all literature. Hugo teaches us much of doing right in the face of great challenge. He also teaches us of the conflict between justice and mercy.
-- David DeFord

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas
Alexandre Dumas was already a best-selling novelist when he wrote this historical romance, combining (as he claimed) the two essentials of life--"l'action et l'amour." The Man in the Iron Mask climactically concludes the epic adventures of the three Musk3ateers: here, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and their friend D'Artagnan, once invincible, meet their destinies.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Cry, the Beloved Country is a beautifully told and profoundly compassionate story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set in the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen empathy and understanding that to read it is to share fully in the gravity of the characters' situations. It both touches your heart deeply and inspires a renewed faith in the dignity of mankind. Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic tale, passionately African, timeless and universal, and beyond all, selfless.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up. Like the slow-moving occupants of her fictional town, Lee takes her time getting to the heart of her tale; we first meet the Finches the summer before Scout's first year at school. She, her brother, and Dill Harris, a boy who spends the summers with his aunt in Maycomb, while away the hours reenacting scenes from Dracula and plotting ways to get a peek at the town bogeyman, Boo Radley. At first the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of Mayella Ewell, the daughter of a drunk and violent white farmer, barely penetrate the children's consciousness. Then Atticus is called on to defend the accused, Tom Robinson, and soon Scout and Jem find themselves caught up in events beyond their understanding. During the trial, the town exhibits its ugly side, but Lee offers plenty of counterbalance as well--in the struggle of an elderly woman to overcome her morphine habit before she dies; in the heroism of Atticus Finch, standing up for what he knows is right; and finally in Scout's hard-won understanding that most people are essentially kind "when you really see them." By turns funny, wise, and heartbreaking, To Kill a Mockingbird is one classic that continues to speak to new generations, and deserves to be reread often.
--Alix Wilber

Roots by Alex Haley
I have read this book three times. Each reading has brought to me an appreciation for the heritage of our African-American friends. The story mixes innocence and brutality, love and hate, peace and war, wisdom and ignorance, triumph and defeat. It is a book of great contrasts. The story of this people is reminiscent of that of the Jews and Mormons.
-- David DeFord

Accounting for Dummies by John A. Tracy
Not everyone is cut out to be a professional accountant. But thanks to Accounting For Dummies, 2nd Edition you can get a handle on the financial aspects of your business, investments, or taxes. Accounting professor and author John A. Tracy sheds light on the mysteries of
   -- Generating income statements and balance sheets
   -- Establishing budgets, controlling profit and cash flow, stemming losses, and managing inventory
   -- Evaluating profit margins – and identifying ways to increase them
   -- Making financial decisions that keep investors, creditors, and managers satisfied
   -- Reading financial reports
   -- Surviving an audit and using the results to improve your accounting system
   -- Putting the latest computer technology to work to help you manage the bottom line
If you've steered clear of accounting because you thought it incomprehensible by mere mortals, prepare to be enlightened. Accounting For Dummies, 2nd Edition empowers you with knowledge you can't afford to be without.

Accounting the Easy Way by Peter J. Eisen
Useful as either a self-teaching guide or a supplement to classroom textbooks, this book presents the fundamentals of accounting, starting with the accounting equation, then explaining financial statements, recording daily business transactions, using special journals, accounting for receivables and payables, and accounting for assets, inventories, and payroll from the viewpoint of a sole proprietorship form of business. Final chapters cover partnership and corporate accounting. Within every chapter, self-testing exercises follow each topic with detailed solutions presented at the back of the book. Barron’s Easy Way books focus on both practical and academic topics, presenting fundamental subject matter in clear, understandable language. Equally popular as self-teaching manuals and supplementary texts for classroom use, they are written to help students improve their grades and review subject matter before tests. They are also useful for introducing general readers to a new career-related skill. Easy Way titles cover virtually all subjects that are taught on advanced high school and college-101 levels. Subject heads and key phrases are set in a second color.

Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell

Frugal Living for Dummies by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Tips to help get the whole family involved in saving money. The helpful guide to living the good life on less. Need help keeping that New Year's resolution to eliminate credit card debt and live within your means? Then Frugal Living for Dummies is for you! Packed with tips on cutting costs on everything from groceries to gifts for all occasions, this practical guide shows you how to spend less on the things you need and save more for the things you want.

Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson
Do you need help managing your financial priorities? Relax! This friendly guide, now updated to include changes to the tax code, gives you just the information you need to take control of your finances, buy the right insurance coverage, and weather economic downturns. Guide to saving more, investing wisely, and planning for the future. Revised and updated to include changes to the tax code.

Art: A New History - Paul Johnson
In ART: A NEW HISTORY, Paul Johnson turns his great gifts as a world historian to a subject that has enthralled him all his life: the history of art. This narrative account, from the earliest cave paintings up to the present day, has new things to say about almost every period of art. Taking account of changing scholarship and shifting opinions, he draws our attention to a number of neglected artists and styles, especially in Scandinavia, Germany, Russia and the Americas. Paul Johnson puts the creative originality of the individual at the heart of his story. He pays particular attention to key periods: the emergence of the artistic personality in the Renaissance, the new realism of the early seventeenth century, the discovery of landscape painting as a separate art form, and the rise of ideological art.

Opera 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Opera by Fred Plotikin, Placido Domingo
Just as the title says, this is a basic primer on what opera is, what to look for and what to listen to. There is nothing stuffy in Plotkin's style, which is clear and idiomatic. The book also boasts a foreword by supertenor Placido Domingo.

Classical Music 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Classical Music by Fred Plotikin
From Library Journal: The latest of many introductory books on Western classical music, Plotkin's is a fine addition to the genre, though some may prefer Robert Sherman and Philip Seldon's more traditionally organized Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Music or Michael Walsh's hilarious and opinionated Who's Afraid of Classical Music? While most such books are at least partially chronological, Plotkin's revolves almost entirely around the orchestra's instruments and the listening experience. He presents material as coursework, and his strictures about really listening (as opposed to mere "hearing") are well taken and certainly apply to all kinds of music. A valuable feature are the interviews with classical musicians interspersed throughout. One weakness is that opera is not significantly treated, perhaps because Plotkin covered that ground in an earlier book, Opera 101: A Guide to Learning and Loving Opera. The discography is organized by chapter rather than composer (which makes it a bit awkward to use as a stand-alone source), but it is superior to the one in the Idiot's Guide. Recommended for libraries desiring an up-to-date and informative general introduction to classical music.
Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ. Lib., Kingsville Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren
From Publishers Weekly: Pastor of Saddleback Church, a Southern Baptist mega-church in southern California with weekly attendance of more than 15,000, Warren now applies his highly successful "purpose-driven" framework, developed in the best-seller The Purpose-Driven Church, to individual experience. The same principles Warren has taught to thousands of pastors to help churches be healthy and effective can also drive lives, he says. The book argues that discerning and living five God-ordained purposes-worship, community, discipleship, ministry and evangelism-is key to effective living. His 40 short chapters are intended to be read over 40 days' time, giving readers small pieces of his purpose-discovering program to chew on. Warren certainly knows his Bible. Of 800-plus footnotes, only 18 don't refer to Christian Scripture. He deliberately works with 15 different Bible translations, leaning heavily on contemporary translations and paraphrases, as an interesting way of plumbing biblical text. The almost exclusively biblical frame of reference stakes out the audience niche for this manual for Christian living. It's practical yet paradoxically abstract, lacking the kind of real-life examples and stories that life-application books usually provide in abundance. The book has flaws editing might have fixed. People are quoted without being identified, and subheads simply repeat lines of text, which tends to make the prose sound too simple. This book is not for all, but for those needing a certain kind of scriptural rock, it is solid.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Back Cover: One of the most popular and beloved introductions to Christian faith ever written, Mere Christianity has sold millions of copies worldwide. The book brings together Lewis' legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to "explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times." Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity's many denominations, C. S. Lewis provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and non-believers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for the Christian faith; it is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains strikingly fresh for the modern reader and at the same time confirms C. S. Lewis' reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.

Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes by Gordon B. Hinckley, Mike Wallace
"Virtue is too often neglected, if not scorned or ridiculed as old-fashioned, confining, unenlightened," laments author Gordon Hinckley, a 90-year-old ordained leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Even as he enumerates all of America's social ills (including $482 billion a year spent on gambling, rampant child neglect and abuse, school massacres, a pervasive deterioration of values) Hinckley believes there is a remedy. Chapter by chapter Hinckley presents 10 old-fashioned virtues that will return America to the glory envisioned by its founding fathers. These virtues include Love, Honesty, Morality, Civility, Learning, Forgiveness, Thrift and Industry, Gratitude, Optimism, and Faith. Hinckley makes a compelling case for every one of these virtues, quoting extensively from the Bible but mostly using convincing personal anecdotes (after all, he is an elder with 90 years worth of stories and wisdom). In his glowing foreword, Mike Wallace (of 60 Minutes fame) writes that Gordon Hinckley is an "optimistic leader of the Mormon Church who fully deserves the almost universal admiration that he gets." Clearly, Hinkley has struck a resounding chord with the American populace, including dyed-in-the-wool New York cynics such as Wallace. Word of this book is rapidly spreading across America as simple folk clamor to steer their lives and country with a more virtuous compass.

Our Search for Happiness by M. Russell Ballard

How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman
Back Cover: Whether interviewing, selling, networking, or leading a team, success in business depends on connecting with other people. Nicholas Boothman now brings his system of forging instant relationships to the world of business. Beginning with the simplest of tools--face, body, attitude, and voice--he shows how to make a dazzling first impression. And then, when those first 90 seconds are up, how to master the people-top-people skill that are essential to self-confident, ongoing communication.

Integrity Selling for the 21st Century: How to Sell the Way People Want to Buy by Ron Willingham
This book has made a big impact on me. I read it three times, using the action items at the end of each chapter. From these readings, I realized I needed to excuse myself from a business opportunity that would have been extremely financially successful, but would have put me in the integrity poor farm.
-- David DeFord

The Integrity Advantage: How Taking the High Road Creates a Competitive Advantage in Business by Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford
With The Integrity Advantage, Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford establish a burning platform-that personal integrity is a proven competitive advantage in business. Prominent business leaders from some of North America’s most respected companies-including Don Graham of the Washington Post, former Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke, and Hank Paulson, Jr. of Goldman Sachs-discuss the role integrity has played in their successes, and offer examples of the importance of integrity in business today. Not merely a collection of essays, the authors also share an effective system of decision-making designed to help anyone implement integrity into every action. The importance of trust and credibility within business relationships is examined and discussed, as Telford and Gostick illustrate how to juggle wealth, power, and responsibility-and be a person of character. Given the recent uncertainty fostered by questionable corporate tactics, however, now is the time to examine what role integrity actually plays in business today, and whether employees are naturally compelled to practice these values-particularly when the leaders they follow lack integrity in their own professional behavior.

There's No Such Thing As "Business" Ethics: There's Only One Rule For Making Decisions by John C. Maxwell
Bestselling author and expert on leadership John C. Maxwell shares the only rule that matters--in business and in life.How does a person judge what is ethical? Sometimes it's clear. In the past year or two, ethical lapses in corporate America have been well documented. But is it always easy to see where the line is in life? What's the standard? And can it work in all situations? John C. Max- well thinks it can. In THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS BUSINESS ETHICS, Maxwell shows how people can live with integrity by using the Golden Rule as their standard--regardless of religion, culture, or circumstances. Along the way, he delves into the desires of the human heart, reveals the five most common pitfalls that throw people off the ethical track, and teaches how to develop the Midas touch when it comes to personal integrity.

Personal Development
Create Your Own Future: How to Master the 12 Critical Factors of Unlimited Success by Brian Tracy
With this guide you can achieve your goals faster than you ever dreamed possible. Discover how to skyrocket your success with twelve solid steps you can take to dramatically increase your results almost immediately.

Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life by David Allen
Based on Allen's highly popular e-newsletter, Principles of Productivity, Ready for Anything offers fifty-two principles to clear your head, focus productively, create structures that work, and get in motion, including:
* stability on one level opens creativity on another
* you can't win a game you haven't defined
* the value of a future goal is the present change it fosters
With wit, motivational insights, and inspiring quotes, Ready for Anything shows readers how to make things happen with less effort, stress, and ineffectiveness, and lots more energy, creativity, and clarity. This is the perfect book for anyone wanting to work and live at their very best.

The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn
I thoroughly enjoy this book. I use it often in finding quotes on most any meaningful subject.
-- David DeFord

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
First published in 1938, this personal development classic helped spawn the motivational genre. The principles still apply. While the title subject is about gaining wealth, the book, in fact, has more to do with taking control of your thoughts, and therefore your life.
-- David DeFord

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