Keep reading, just keep reading...

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Thomas Rock, Jr.
  • 45th Range Management Squadron commander
The amazing thing about reading is that regardless of what the subject is, you often walk away with an entirely different perspective.

From graphic novels to the Chief's 2010 reading list to keeping up with the daily papers, the act of reading improves how you think, how you perceive yourself and others, and most importantly, opens your mind to new ideas.

My experience in the Air Force has been we are a society based on analogies, anecdotes, and clichés. Next time you hear someone use one, ask the person what is the origin of the saying and how it relates to the subject at hand.

My guess is the answers you get will be evenly split between being accurate and unknown. Challenge yourself to understand the story behind the cliché and you will be rewarded with a very quick way to validate/evaluate someone's knowledge and how they think.

I had an old boss who made our shop do book reports once a month. As he challenged us to read, he was more interested in the thought process for evaluating what we read, rather than what was actually read.

When we complained about no time, he said to skip the evening's episode of Seinfeld or Friends and read. Reflecting on why the book was very good, horribly written orcritical to learning or exploring a concept, we were actually developing our skills to articulate positions and defend decisions.

These skills became the very backbone of how to present ideas up and down the chain and different ways to relate your point.

While images of Daniel in the movie "Karate Kid" come to mind as we unknowingly became prepared, reading very quickly became a habit creating an almost insatiable desire to see the end of the next chapter. For this I'm forever grateful although I'm sure my selections of fairy tales and military fiction made his eyes roll.

One final thought to consider from one of the world's finest authors, Mark Twain: "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."