Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Love of Learning

This week I had the opportunity to read David McCullough's The Love of Learning, a speech he gave to the graduating students at Boston College. I loved it. If anyone wants to listen to it, you can do so here. Many of you have probably already heard or read this speech, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite pieces from it.

"If information were learning, you could memorize the World Almanac and call yourself educated. If you memorized the World Almanac, you wouldn’t be educated. You’d be weird!"

“'I cannot live without books,' Thomas Jefferson wrote to Adams late in life, knowing Adams would understand perfectly. Adams read everything—Shakespeare and the Bible over and over, and the Psalms especially. He read poetry, fiction, history. Always carry a book with you on your travels he advised his son, John Quincy. 'You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.'”

"And please, please, do what you can to cure the verbal virus that seems increasingly rampant among your generation. I’m talking about the relentless, wearisome use of the words, 'like,' and 'you know,' and 'awesome,' and 'actually.' Listen to yourselves as you speak. Just imagine if in his inaugural address John F. Kennedy had said, 'Ask not what your country can, you know, do for you, but what you can, like, do for your country actually.'” 
(Guilty as charged... I'm working on it.)

"We’re all what we read to a very considerable degree."

He also stated this statistic: "In a single year, according to the U. S. Department of Education, among all Americans with a college education, fully a third read not one novel or short story or poem."

Yikes. Not even one? I can't even imagine going a full year without reading anything, but I guess not everyone enjoys reading... weird-o's. (just kidding!)

So, I want to know: What are you reading lately? Or what is something you've read recently that you would recommend? I want to read good books, so I can be filled with good things!


Monica said...

I remember in grad school I had NO time for pleasure reading - every spare minute was spent reading journal articles and academic books. I missed reading for me so much! Right now I am reading Unbroken - and next on my list is The Book Thief and Maze Runner. The last book I read was the Glass Castle - which I enjoyed but it had some really strong language which I did not enjoy. :)

Julia said...

I loved Unbroken - it is amazing how much the human spirit can endure and heal from. I have to admit that I was very disturbed after finishing The Glass Castle. It was very eye opening though. I REALLY WANT TO READ THE BOOK THIEF TOO. :)