The Positive Influence of Books

Guest Blog 
By Ryan C. Schultz
Age 19
  

There have been many books that I have read that have helped to influence the person I have become and the way I live my life.  I have noticed that teens and young children spend so much time with their games and handhelds that they rarely read books anymore.

If you are a parent of young children or teens, these are some books that you may find helpful in getting your kids to read more. You can even have them read this post…maybe they will pay more attention if it’s not their parent suggesting they read more.

Reading Life Skills


These are a few of the books that have had an impact on my life: Curious George, The Dumb Bunnies, Spot, The Thief Lord, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, Lessons for Life, The Traveler’s Gift, One Shot, and Dead or Alive.

Curious George fed my desire for adventure.  I would read those books about a curious monkey who had all these cool adventures everyday.  When I was little I lived for the adventure or exploration of anything. I often went fishing with my dad and spent time outdoors exploring nature.  To this day I like to explore old different places. 

The Dumb Bunnies was just a one of those dumb funny books that makes you laugh.  I would laugh every time I read one of these books, even if I had read it many times before. My sense of humor now is just like those books, I can find something funny about some of the most stupid things.  I can appreciate the cleverness of a pun, even if they are kind of dumb! 

Spot was about a little puppy that always had his adventures and he had pretty simple days.  That influenced me to try and have a simple life, and not to complicate it by over thinking and getting worried about things.  I’m all about working hard at everything but I try to make the hard things as simple as I can make them.

These books are the first ones that influenced my love for reading.
 

The Thief Lord is about a little band of children in Venice who like to cause mischief.  I liked this book because it appealed to the side of me that wanted to run around and do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without any parental input.  There was also the mystery behind the main character that intrigued me. I was able to develop a love of reading. 

Treasure Island was the book that started my interest in lost or ancient treasure or artifacts.  I have read many books since about treasure hunters and archaeologists going on adventures and finding lost treasure.  Now whenever I go anywhere in the mountains or somewhere rural I always think there might be something I will find that’s really cool. 

Sherlock Holmes is probably the most interesting book I have ever read.  After the first time I read this book I decided I wanted to be a detective and solve all kinds of cases. This book really influenced the way I think and the way to look at different scenarios in as many ways as possible.  I like a good mystery that makes me think in a more analytic way.  I always wanted the deductive reasoning skills that Sherlock Holmes has, so I try and learn to think that way and to be observant, see things that others would normally ignore.

These next few books are the ones that I have read more recently in my life.  Two of the books are more about personal success and persisting through trials in your life.  The other two are books that are adventure books that deal with military guys.

One Shot is about a retired military policeman who is a drifter and travels to Indianapolis, and ends up helping a man who was framed for a murder he didn't commit. 
This book hasn't really influenced my life except that it encouraged me to read more. It is a series that features the character Jack Reacher and I really liked how the author wrote the books.  This has become my favorite book along with my favorite author so it’s had some influence but nothing substantial.

Dead or Alive is about a secret government agency that only the president and a few other people know about.  The agencies job is to track down and find a certain terrorist that is the mastermind behind many terrorist attacks.  When I was fourteen I started to get into the spy/special forces books because they were interesting and entertaining to read.

Lessons for Life, has influenced me to try as hard as I can in everything I do and never give up. This book is about Curt Brinkman, who at 16 years old was 6’7” and had dreams of playing professional basketball. That all ended when he was electrocuted and subsequently lost both legs. Curt went on to set world records in Paralympics events and he even hold the world record for the Boston Marathon in a wheel chair. This taught me that if I work hard with a good attitude and determination that I can do anything I set my mind to.  There is great satisfaction in earning something you have worked hard to obtain and overcoming trials to get there.  This book was a very inspirational book to read because of all the author had been through. I had the opportunity to meet Curt and he signed my book. I was sad to hear of his passing a few years ago due to medical complications.

The Traveler’s Gift is a book that shares with the reader seven decisions that determine personal success.  In the book the main character thinks his life is a failure, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for him.  His daughter is ill and he can’t afford the medical attention because he only works part time.  He gets in a car crash and finds himself traveling through time meeting some of the wisest people who ever lived.  As I read the seven decisions of personal success, they seemed to make a lot of sense to me and they have influenced my decision making and my perspective on life. 

Here are the decisions of success:
1. The buck stops here. I am responsible for my past and my future.
2. I will seek wisdom. I will be a servant to others.
3. I am a person of action. I seize this moment. I choose now.
4. I have a decided heart. My destiny is assured.
5. Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit.
6. I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself.
7. I will persist without exception. I am a person of great faith.
           

I hope this has been helpful. I do enjoy reading and it has helped me as I entered college and I attended a major university. I was able to get straight A’s my freshman year. While roommates wasted time playing WOW, I was able to be disciplined enough to study. It hasn't been all books and school work. I do have a love of sports and play every chance I get! I appreciate my parents encouraging me to read and I recognize the positive influence of books in my life.

Comments

Lisa Nelson said…
WOW, what a fantastic list. I am pinning and sharing. As the holidays are coming and parents are looking for holiday gifts, this would be a fabulous guide. So glad you dad directed me to this post!

Congratulations to you on your education. I am so glad to hear you are not wasting time and are having a great time in college.

Great job on the grades!

Keep learning, growing and teaching. You are an excellent example of what a young adult should be. Such maturity!

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