Books to Consider Reading: Final Installment


While there are more books to suggest, this is the final blog post on my supplemental book list for ACCT 4154:

“A part of all you earn is yours to keep. It should be not less than a tenth no matter how little you earn. It can be as much or more as you can afford. Pay yourself first. Do not buy from the clothes-maker and the sandal-maker more than you can pay out of the rest and still have enough for food and charity and penance to the gods.” George S. Clason, The Richest Man in Babylon (Penguin Putnam), ISBN 0-451-20536-7.

The words “pay yourself first” is imminently wise. I failed miserably at heeding this advice for a very long time, choosing instant gratification over prudence, which I deeply regret. This book has stood the test of time and is a real easy read.

“Human knowledge had become too great for the human mind. All that remained was the scientific specialist, who know “more and more about less and less,” and the philosophical speculator, who knew less and less about more and more. The specialist put on blinders in order to shut out from his vision all the world but one little spot, to which he glued his nose. Perspective was lost. “Facts” replaced understanding; and knowledge, split into a thousand isolated fragments, no longer generated wisdom. Every science, and every branch of philosophy, developed a technical terminology intelligible only to its exclusive devotees; as man learned more about the world, they found themselves ever less capable of expressing to their educated fellow-men what it was that they had learned. The gap between life and knowledge grew wider and wider; those who governed could not understand those who thought, and those who wanted to know could not understand those who knew. In the midst of unprecedented learning popular ignorance flourished, and chose its exemplars to rule the great cities of the world; in the midst of sciences endowed and enthroned as never before, new religions were born every day, and old superstitions recaptured the ground they had lost. The common man found himself forced to choose between a scientific priesthood mumbling unintelligible pessimism, and a theological priesthood mumbling incredible hopes.  In this situation the function of the professional teacher was clear. It should have been to mediate between the specialist and the nation; to learn the specialist’s language, as the specialist had learned nature’s, in order to break down the barriers between knowledge and need. And find for new truths old terms that all literate people might understand. For if knowledge became too great for communication, it would degenerate into scholasticism, and the weak acceptance of authority; mankind would slip into a new age of faith, worshiping at a respectful distance its new priests; and civilization, which had hoped to raise itself upon education disseminated far and wide, would be left precariously based upon a technical erudition that had become the monopoly of an esoteric class monastically isolated from the world by the high birth of terminology.”   Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster 1926) ISBN – 0-671-20159-X.

I love this author and own the 11 volume Story of Civilization that he and Ariel Durant produced. This quote is what bothers me about modern society. We’ve become so specialized that we can’t do very much else than our particular specialties, which is not a good thing in my opinion.

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it — then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share. Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them? Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems.” M. Scott Peck, M.D., The Road Less Traveled (Touchstone – Simon & Schuster 1978), ISBN – 0-684-84724-8.

This book had a profound impact on me when I first read it. At the time, I was struggling with a number of things, and acceptance was one of them. This book taught me the importance of acceptance.

I hope that you enjoyed my list. Let me know what you think! What books have had a profound impact on you?

About lpaulhoodjr

I am an inactive lawyer who practiced almost 20 years as a tax and estate planning lawyer. Today, I am the Director of Planned Giving for The University of Toledo Foundation. I am the co-author of four books, the sole author of another book and a frequent speaker and writer on estate planning, planned giving and business valuation.
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