1. Read at least 10 pages every day of a non-fiction book in various fields: science, history, literature, music, art, science fiction, theology, economics, etc. Increase it by one page per day until you get it up to 20 pages per day. R. J. Rushdoony read at least one book a day—“underlined, with a personal index in the back cover—six days a week for 25 years. He then followed suit with another 25 years of the same schedule.” Go and do likewise. In ten days, you will have read a 200-page book. That’s more than 35 books per year. In ten years, 350 books. In 40 years, 1400 books. Increase the number of pages per day, and you will have read in a lifetime more books than most people have seen in their local public library.1
2. Learn how to skim a book to determine if it’s worth reading all of it. Learn how to speed read to mine books for information.
3. Keep a notebook of insights, facts, well stated truths, and new vocabulary words. I use “Moleskine Notebooks.” I carry one with me everywhere I go. You can’t trust your memory.
4. Each year, read at least one book in a category that you find difficult and even boring so you are able to discuss five principles about that subject. Think of yourself stuck with some guy at a party who is fascinated with celestial mechanics. You will make a friend.
5. Take the initiative and ask questions of people who know more than you do. If you’re young, that means almost everybody you meet. Listen more than you speak. If an answer is not clear, ask for clarification. Learn at least ten new things every day.
6. Be able to do a job interview without using the word “like” more than three times unless the word is absolutely called for as in “I would like to work for you” and not “Like, I would like really like to like work for you.”
7. Be able to give a talk for 12 minutes without using notes. If ever called on to give an impromptu talk, be ready to give one that lasts for about 3 minutes. Less is often more. When someone asks you to speak and gives you a time limit, DO NOT go over. You want people to say, “I wish he had more time” rather than “When will he shut up?”
8. Start your own business so you will know how much work goes into running a company and how difficult it is to make a profit, hire and fire employees (most of whom aren’t qualified for the work), market, fill out forms, pay taxes, fill out forms, pay taxes, fill out forms, pay taxes.
9. Don’t be afraid to fail. Some of the best lessons you will ever learn come from failures, but only if you decide to learn from them.
10. “Power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Sometimes (most times?) God uses your weaknesses over your strengths to turn you into the person He wants you to be.
- This list is the first of many that I’ll be publishing. [↩]