Moreover, these figures do not take into account the huge amount of other titles - such as memoirs, local history books, course books, or other such books that do not require an ISBN number, and thus are not listed in standard printed book databases.
Furthermore, due to the advent of digital printing, many authors are now self- publishing (and marketing) their own books – apparently with increasing success. (Indeed, such authors can now get as many copies of their books as desired printed “on demand”.) Others choose not to print their books at all, but to offer them as downloads for such electronic reading devices as Kindle. All of this is to say that the actual number of books currently available for reading is simply overwhelming.
With this many books out there to choose from, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between what is genuinely worthwhile reading material and what is essentially junk. For that reason, I find myself progressively drawn to the classics for my own reading selections – or at least to those books which have demonstrated their worth by their ability to withstand the test of time (measured in part by the number of reprints through which they have gone).
In light of all this, I will from time to time recommend what I consider to be a worthwhile book to read. This week, I would like to do just that. One author of the past to whom I have been drawn is William H. Danforth (1870 – 1956), who founded the Ralston Purina Company in St. Louis, Missouri. He was also co-founder of the American Youth Foundation (http://www.ayf.com/). In 1938, he authored a classic little motivational book titled simply I Dare You! (ISBN# 0-7661-2786-9), in which he delineated the famed four-fold way. (Ralston Purina's renowned corporate checkerboard logo actually evolved from the personal development concepts Danforth put forth in this book.)
In his book, he proposed that there are four key components of life, as identified in Jesus’ own life in Luke 2:52: the physical, the mental, the social, and the spiritual. He stressed that all of these components need to be kept in balance. Using a checkerboard to illustrate the concept, he placed "Physical" on the left, "Mental" on the top, "Social" on the right, and "Religious" on the bottom (as the foundation of the other three). To be healthy, one needs the four squares of one’s life to stay in balance, and not to let any one area overly develop at expense of the others. To anyone looking for a wonderfully challenging and motivational book, I wholeheartedly recommend this inspirational little work.
(I Dare You can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Dare-You-Perennial-Motivational-Classics/dp/1933715820/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289947235&sr=1-1.) I leave you with a few quotes from I Dare You!:
I want you to start a crusade in you life - to dare to be your best.
You have a four-fold life to live: a body, a brain, a heart and a soul… these are your living tools. To use and develop them is not a task… it is a golden opportunity.
I dare you, boys and girls, to make life obey you, not you it. It is only a shallow dare to do the foolish things. I dare you to do the uplifting, courageous things.
I dare you to think bigger, to act bigger, and to be bigger. I dare you to think creatively. I dare you to lead and inspire others. I dare you to build character. I dare you to share. And I promise you a richer and more exciting life if you do!
I am on a voyage of discovery. I search for those of you who will go on a great adventure… if you are one of those audacious few willing to dare and then to share… then come with me.
I dare you, who think life is humdrum, to become involved. I dare you who are weak to become strong; you who are dull to be sparkling; you who are slaves to be kings.
I dare you, whoever you are, to share with others the fruits of your daring. Catch a passion for helping other, and a richer life will come back to you.
Some folks are continually making changes. I flatter myself that I like new ventures and new experiences. But when it comes to fundamentals I believe in finding the right foundations and building on them.
Our most valuable possessions are those which can be shared without lessening: those which, when shared, multiply. Our least valuable possessions are those which, when divided, are diminished.
The line of least resistance makes crooked rivers and crooked men.
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the conquest of it.
I have found opportunities do not come to those who wait. They are captured by those who attack.
The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.
A millionaire in money is nothing compared to being a millionaire in friends, and everyone can be this, provided you keep these friends when you make them.
Treat everybody alike, no matter from what station in life he comes. Be your own self with all people whether they be prince or pauper.
I have observed that setting a goal makes no appeal to the mediocre. But to those fired with an ambition really to achieve greatly, setting a goal becomes a program that stirs the inner soul to action.