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Getting Lost and Growing LEARNING MORE ABOUT MYSELF AND HISTORY THROUGH BOOKS
M y sister, a comparative literature major, likes to poke fun at me for the books I read. While she’s getting lost in classic American fiction, I prefer self- help books because they push me to think outside of myself and form fresh perspectives. My sister just scoffs! Of course, it doesn’t help that I am notorious for leaving a bunch of half-read books lying around. I’ll give her that. But when I do finish the books — and really when I’ve only read them halfway — I feel motivated and full of fresh ideas. I’ve learned our minds like to play tricks on us, and we need to look for ways to continuously improve. I don’t want to remain stagnant. I want to become a better person, and the books I choose help me get there. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill has to be one of the more powerful books I’ve read. The title can be misleading because most people think it’s about growing your monetary wealth. Instead, when you read the book, you come to understand that Hill encourages readers to live a life that makes them rich beyond financial gain. It’s about being confident with what you have, deciding how you want to go forward, and surrounding yourself with those who help you do that. Hill’s book also introduced me to mastermind groups. I used to belong to a few groups, but I soon learned just how much support I could get from our state plaintiff and bar associations. It’s a core group of lawyers who are working to do the best for their clients, and we offer feedback and our experiences to other attorneys facing similar problems. In fact, I just posted about needing some advice with a problem I was having! Having that network of support helps me grow, and I know I’d be lost without it. When I don’t have my nose in a self-help book, I stick more to nonfiction. I enjoy reading about history and its key players. Just recently, I was reading about Genghis Khan, and I enjoy American history stories, too. David McCullough’s “1776” has some great writing, and he also wrote a biography of John Adams.
The best part about history is it can often read like, if not better than, many works of fiction. I most enjoy books that put the reader at the center of the historical conflict and struggle. You can’t get a plotline like that anywhere else. And really, that’s why we read! We need to learn and grow, and sometimes it takes digging into ourselves and exploring history to make progress. If you’re looking for a new book, I recommend “The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8 a.m.” by Hal Elrod. Before you roll your eyes because it’s a self- help book, I encourage you to learn more about Elrod’s story. Elrod overcame extensive injuries he sustained as a result of being hit by a drunk driver, and his lessons and viewpoints will be very relatable to many of you. Let me know what you think, and if you have a book recommendation, I’d love to hear it. Who knows — maybe I’ll try one of my sister’s classics, too.
-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
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