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Reading Books, People, and Numbers!

As a college and graduate student, I took many psychology classes to learn to read people. Then at the University of Virginia, I took many organizational behavior classes to learn to read organizations. For most of my life, I earned my living reading people, organizations, and numbers. Reading numbers was more important than just correctly adding them up. Reading numbers and figuring out what they said to me helped me help my school district clients. Then one day, the superintendent in one large district asked me to serve as his interim chief financial officer. I had lots of accountants to count the numbers so I could spend my time reading them! I just finished a bowl of soup for lunch. While slurping my soup, I started “Lords of all the World – Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c. 1500 - c. 1800 by Anthony Pagden. I will read every page, including the one with the ISBN and Library of Congress number. I think I am going to like this book. I think it has some important-sounding words in it. When I wasn’t at school, I was often alone. Well, not really; I was with my thousands of friends – all our books, magazines, and encyclopedias. I have attached a photo of twenty of my best friends. They were named Collier and edited by a guy named Couch. Why do I remember that? I have no idea. I sat on the floor in the living room, opened one, and started to read. I read on the floor, outside, in the tub, while eating, watching TV, mowing the grass, and hiding in my room when my folks would fuss at each other. There was a time when I was in 7th grade, we didn’t have much money. My dad had surgery on some nerves, so that he couldn’t work. Folks would bring big bags of food to us. That was the nice part about a small town of 5,289 people.


But we always had books, National Geographics, Life magazines, and Biblical Archaeology magazines. Those were my favorites—big color photos of far-off places with many important-sounding words. I liked important-sounding words; they made me feel important when I memorized them. When I got to college, I took tests on different subjects and skipped about 20 hours of required courses. That’s cause I already knew all the important-sounding words! Today I am 73 years old. We don’t have any encyclopedias in the house, but we do have Google, Bing, and Duck-Duck-something, all things that bring important sounding words to my monitor. I still read everywhere. When we built our house here in Chihuahua, I made sure they put a tub in one of the bathrooms, so I had a familiar place to read. Many times as a child, my books were my hiding-in-plain-sight-places.


As a college and graduate student, I took many psychology classes to learn to read people. Then at the University of Virginia, I took many organizational behavior classes to learn to read organizations. For most of my life, I earned my living reading people, organizations, and numbers. Reading numbers was more important than just correctly adding them up. Reading numbers and figuring out what they said to me helped me help my school district clients. Then one day, the superintendent in one large district asked me to serve as his interim chief financial officer. I had lots of accountants to count the numbers so I could spend my time reading them! I just finished a bowl of soup for lunch. While slurping my soup, I started “Lords of all the World – Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c. 1500 - c. 1800 by Anthony Pagden. I will read every page, including the one with the ISBN and Library of Congress number. I think I am going to like this book. I think it has some important-sounding words in it.


Oh, I really don’t need them anymore. I have my wife beside me now. She is all I need to feel important! Although, I think she wishes I could read her better! After fifty-two years of marriage, I am still trying to learn how to do that! In the words of that famous credit card commercial . . . What’s in your bookcase?



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