Reading the books of dead people

An author and well know personality in the world of Sales Training and Personal Development (Jeffrey Gitomer) suggested that his followers read more books from authors who are dead.   So this year, I have done just that.  What Jeffrey Gitomer is suggesting is there is a lot of great information, thoughts, processes, and suggestions in older books that still apply today.  Being a Dale Carnegie Trainer, I have been exposed to the thinking of Mr. Dale Carnegie that dates back over 100 years ago, and I would suggest that his 30 Human Relations principles that he wrote about in his classic book “How to win Friends and Influence People” apply more today than they did when he wrote the book.

One essay/book that I have come across here recently is from no other than Benjamin Franklin.  His quote “Early to bed, and Early To rise, makes a man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” is one of my favorite quotes that I try to live by every day.  After looking this quote up I learned that he wrote an essay named “Early Rising” around this quote.  The essay outlines the benefits of getting your day started early.  I start many of my days at 4:00 am and in the essay he suggests that as well, I am glad to know I am not too crazy and in good company.

What I like about reading the older books:

  • The history lessons that you get.
  • You see how different customs and norms of society were (even in America) and it gives you an appreciation of what we have today, or encourages you to act in a way like people used to act.
  • People are people and the same challenges that existed a hundred years ago, still exist today with regards to people.
  • Life appears to have been simpler and it is interesting to get caught up in what it would have been like.
  •  Learning how things were done then and how I can apply it today in business and in life.

Here are some of the authors that I am currently reading or have read this year:

  • Napoleon Hill
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Percy Whiting
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Jim Rohn (he hasn’t been dead too long)
  • Orison Swett Marden
  • Benjamin Franklin

Whether you read books written by dead people or people who are alive, if you are reading you are learning and that is the goal.

Brian Willett



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