Books: A Lifelong Learning Key

Lifelong learning is a journey. It is not a destination, and getting there is not simply half the fun. It’s all of the fun when you are accompanied by the greatest minds of all time. The incredible voyage, that is lifelong learning is more enjoyable, when the greatest books ever penned are your sails.

Have you ever visited your local public library or a bookstore, and stood there for a moment, and looked in awe at the immense treasure of information surrounding you? While every book is not a classic, or a fountain of timeless wisdom of the ages, each volume represents a writer’s gift of creation. By carefully selecting which books to purchase or borrow, you can share in the knowledge that has passed from generation to generation.

While business people will often find their selections in the business book section, there is much wisdom to be discovered elsewhere as well. Along with the many fine writings on business, it is well worth a business person’s time to rediscover the immortal classics of literature.

From an early age, we studied great books of literature. Often, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen were found to be boring and lacking relevance. While those classics and others were seen as uninteresting at an earlier time in your life, it’s time to pick them up once again. A very important factor to notice about great literature, is its ability to affect you in different ways, at various points in your life. What may have seemed boring and of little benefit at one stage in life, may turn out to be one of life’s most important lessons at another age and time.

The lessons from characters ranging from Hamlet to Huckleberry Finn to Elizabeth Bennett are vital to our lives today. While the settings may change, the nature of people does not. Knowing about people, and their myriad of actions and motives, is a powerful gift for any business owner or manager. At the same time, great literature is a pleasure to read and enjoy. Becky Sharp is as captivating today as she was in Victorian England; and Robinson Crusoe and Friday provide valuable information on resourcefulness and creativity.

Reading the great books not only teaches life lessons, but also improves your personal writing and communications style. To fashion prose like F. Scott Fitzgerald or economize on words like Ernest Hemingway is the mark of a fine writer. Learning to think, and to create letters and articles in a strong prose style, sets one apart from the crowd. Good writing cries out to be read and then read and enjoyed again. Following the example of the best writers of all time will enhance your own writing skills.

Enjoying the great works of literature is one of the most enjoyable voyages upon which you will ever embark. It is lifelong learning at its most pleasurable.

Select a volume of classic literature today

Wayne Hurlbert writes about business blogs, SEO, marketing, and public relations on Blog Business World. Wayne also hosts the internet radio show Blog Business Success.


  1. says

    Ahhh, Wayne. How many times I’ve paddled down the Mississip with Tom-n-Huck! And every time that I visit a bookstore time stands still as it vaporizes. Such clear truth to the points that you relate today!!

  2. says

    I have to admit that it takes GREAT restraint to go by a book store without stopping in for a minimum of 20 miuntes or so, and even more restraint to leave the store with all the books back in their place on the shelf.
    Classics are a portkey to another world.

  3. says

    Wayne, you’ve hit on something which has constantly been on my Someday/Maybe list taunting me- Read more classics. It is up in that category of things I am eternally grateful a teacher had “made me” do in school, yet it only cracked open the door, and I have not walked back in as often as I should have.
    Thankfully, I have a current motivator: Talking with my daughter when she asks me to proofread papers she is writing for her own college lit course now. We’re currently on Candide, and her analysis of how Voltaire ridicules Dr. Pangloss’ optimistic philosophy despite all he has endured.
    To read these great works with my children (my son and I last read through most of Faulkner) is an added treat. I love to be their challenging protagonist, and they love to debate me!

  4. says

    Reading the classics provides so many rewards to the reader, it’s difficult to list them all. From life lessons, to better reading comprehension and writing skills, to improved creativity, to the sheer pleasure of the read, the classics have endured the test of time for good reason. While I am a strong supporter of reading informational non-fiction works, I thought it important to remind people of the great classic novels as well.

  5. says

    Mahalo Wayne for capturing so eloquently the feeling I got when I first walked into the New York Public Library and at any BIG bookstore. I, too, believe that books are a portal (or Harry Potter’s portkey – Mahalo to Steve Sherlock for the connection) to another world, mindscape of great teachers that we cannot meet.
    Your post was very poignant for me because I was always a math/science geek in school, so I actually never read the classics in school. For some reason though, when I was 27, I started to pick them up. My journey is not very organized, but I am loving each stop. Each story I have found to be riveting and touching. There is always something to learn in each tale.
    Can I ask what is everyone’s favorite classic so that I can update my reading list?
    Great article Wayne. Mahalo for reminding all of us about the power of books.

  6. says

    Wayne, thanks for this. Yes, literature is full of great lessons for all of us. When I wrote A Philistine’s Journal-an Average Guy Tackles the Classics, i thought I was alone, but in writing the book, I found dozens of people who were doing the same thing I was- reading the classics to see what they had to say about today. You can check out my book at but more importantly, go check out something you have heard of but haven’t read. You’d be amazed what’s waiting for you.

  7. says

    Thanks Wayne – this is very inspiring, and it seems that ‘compulsio literosa’ IS rife throughout the Ho’ohana community! (yes, EM – this one is going to stick in my mind!)
    I have some classics on my bookshelf that I discovered in second hand bookshops way back in my uni days (when I couldn’t afford anything else) but never actually got into. I’m going to carve out a little time and start to read them. [I, too, never got to read classic novels in school – the English curriculum was much more ‘modern’ and eclectic at my school – unless you can call Henry Lawson (a quintessential ‘Aussie’ writer) a classic? :]
    I remember when I was about 16, my best friend and I had a list of the top 50 or 100 books to read before you die – most of them classics. You’ve reminded me to contact her and see if she’s still got the list!

  8. says

    Wayne, books are everything! Books are our friends. They are our companions. They take us places we could never go, otherwise. Books have a feel and a smell that evokes happiness or tears – books are the essence of the human spirit. People who surround themselves with books surround themselves with caring, hope, and love.