Why Two Bookshelves?
I remember reading about a professor who was recognized in his field. When asked how he kept current in his ever changing field.
He stated he had two book shelves one for depth and the other for breadth. The concepts is that he reads continually in his field of study from his depth book shelf. From his breadth shelf he reads literature and great classics that keep him in touch with his humanity.
He attributed his success to keeping balance in his life and study through these two bookshelves. Since then I have tried to make sure I am studying the most relevant up to date information in my field and some other information of quality outside my natural interest. You may find great satisfaction in this kind of balance.
Giving a Priority to Quality!
After we build up our depth and breadth reading lists we need to decide what is really worth our time and effort to actually read. I think there are two clear rules for deciding what to read next. 1. Consider the source. Who is the author and what do they have to contribute to my life or my expertise. 2. I take a look at where I am in life and what is it I need at this time.
When looking at books in your field of study you’ll likely have the 2nd question drive what you are going to read. It is likely you are going to read in this area to discover an answer. The final decision is almost always determined by the what is offered by the author. What is their timeliness and relevance in your life and the issues you face.
When you are looking into the the books in the breadth area you have a lot of choices. You’ll want to ask yourself what are the classics? What are the most influential books on the planet? You’ll need to decide based on what is worth your time. What will benefit you long term? Again you will look at the author, the source of the information in the book.
Consider the Source
More recently, I’ve been reflecting on what books really should make up the foundation reading for my character. What books should be on every person’s breadth reading list.
A few months ago there was a huge uprising over the Quran (Koran) and how it was burned. (Quran Burning in Afghanista March 2012) . I made me want to better understand what was it in that book that caused people to count it as sacred.
I read a book some years ago that began with the author asking this question. What would be the most important message to share with all mankind? Good question I thought. The author concluded that if a man had left the earth, gone up into the heavens and returned with a message from the heavens it would be the most important message for mankind. I agreed. Then the author introduced The Book Of Mormon as a book whose author had returned from heaven with the message from God. That was one bold statement.
It was enough to get me reading The Book of Mormon along with the Bible. You know if you are going to read books written by heaven you best read them both at the same time. That is what I’m dong now to broaden the depth of my character and understanding. These highly influential books of our day are readily available. Like me you may find these books written by people inspired by their interactions with God meaningful. Messages save for our day and written with us in mind have a special feeling with them.
You Can Enrich Your Life – Read!
This is pretty important stuff. I’m glad I can read in my field in depth. There is so much to learn from the interactions with authorities in my field of interest and study.
I am enjoying the broadening of my mind and life as I am reading these proven classics of the ages. The Bible and The Book Of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ are expanding the breadth in my life. I am grateful.
What books are on your “breadth” reading list? Have you read the Quran? Add your answers to the comments!