Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On learning and books

Most of the people think that learning stops with school or college. Thereafter they stop reading altogether except for a few who read fiction, newspapers and magazines. The time spent before TV is mostly on channels that do not enhance the knowledge. They are on serials, sports, movies and reality shows. Only a very small percentage watch channels that trigger thinking or educate. A sizable percentage of graduates after they leave the college do not read any new book that will add to their knowledge. But continuous learning is vital to making the most of our lives. How many of us keep the door open to new learning? How often do we interact with knowledgeable people and get insights in areas we are not conversant with? When questions are asked by children or colleagues or friends that are new and baffling, do we take them positively and endeavour to find the answers? I know many of us cannot answer these questions satisfactorily. It is said that real learning takes place only after we have completed our formal learning and lead lives as adults. Learning is a lifelong process and never ends till we are dead or afflicted by Alzheimer. “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live. “(Mortimer Adler) The only thing that we should do is to aid the mind’s growth by feeding and exercising it.

It is here that books come to our assistance. Although there are many ways of gaining knowledge, books constitute the cheapest and easy way of education. One need not spend money on books and can join library. If it is not feasible, spending a small portion of income each month on books is worthwhile. William Ellery Channing says “It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts and pour their souls into ours.” Make it a point to spend a small portion of your income whatever you can afford on buying good books. Selection of books is as important as selection of good teachers or schools Reading is a cheap form of entertainment adding to our knowledge a lot more than watching TV.I cannot resist quoting Charles. W. Eliot here “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”Have a list of 25 books to be read made and vow to read them over a period of time. Continue this process when you have finished.

“Books are the food of youth, the delight of old age; the ornament of prosperity, the refuge and comfort of adversity; a delight at home, and no hindrance abroad; a companion by night, in traveling ,in the country.” Cicero


  1. very well written sir..what you said is 100%true..I have to admit that even I am one among them whom you have mentioned and fall under that category who do not utilize the cheapest source of education.

  2. Missing the stories...agree with the post i always enjoy reading books...

  3. so aptly it is said that books are indeed the best friend in a person's life...

  4. That's very well said uncle.. books are the best pals..

    nice to see u here..;) Keep up the good work .. its interesting..will be here..:)

  5. What you have said is very true. I used to read a lot of books and attend patti madram during my college days, but after a few years I lost interest in reading. Then again after many years I started reading really books, and i must day knowledge gained at any age is good.
    Now i go through the net to improve my knowledge, which too is very good.
    I never watched all these useless serials, but of course I like the travel channel/ food and some other interesting channels as long as there are no repeats.
    I feel one must be open to knowledge, it should not matter where it comes from.
    Thanks for reminding us about reading.