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 Read More - Be More by Charlie Jones  
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"You are the same today as you're going to be in five years except for two things, the people you meet and the books you read." Hang around thinkers; you'll be a better thinker. Hang around givers; you'll be a better giver. Hang around workers; you'll be a better worker. Hang around a bunch of thumb sucking, complaining, griping boneheads; and you will be a better thumb sucking, complaining, griping bonehead.

Now. With that said... how many of you are under sixteen yet? Great. How do you like an idea that you might be driving a Cadillac when you're sixteen? I got it for you. When my son was your age, he wasn't quite as excited as you. I said, "Jerry, do you want to have a car when you're sixteen?" "Yes." "Do you want me to help you buy that car?" "Yes sir, dad." "Alright, son, we're going to do it, but the free ride's over. No more allowance. I'm going to give you a way to make a lot of money.

Here is the deal. I am going to pick out books for you to read. There will be motivational books, history books, inspirational books; and every time I give you a book, you give me a book report. Every time I get a book report, I'll put money in your car fund. Another book report; more money in the car fund. In two years if you read in style, you'll drive in style. But if you read like a bum, you're going to drive like a bum."

Overnight he developed a fantastic hunger for reading. Now the first book I had him read was Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Now the first day he came down and said, "Dad, dad, there's a whole chapter in here on smiling and shaking hands." And he shook my hand, shook my hand - first sign of life in fourteen years. Woohoo! And he smiled at me. Then I had him read a book named Joshua in the Old Testament on discouragement. And we were going to Sunday school one week, and I said, "Jerry, how are you getting along with Joshua?" He says, "Dad, dad." He hit my leg. Imagine that, he hit my leg. And he said, "Everybody ought to have to read that book." That was a sign he was beginning to think about somebody other than himself.

Well, he read 22 books. Did he buy a car? No. He kept the money, used my car and my gas. Now but wait a minute. Don't laugh. It was worth it. Then he went off to college, and I got one of the greatest experiences of my life. And the last chapter of my book "Life is Tremendous" is about Jerry Jones (my son), and there is the reading contract to negotiate with your dad to get it in writing, so he can't change his mind. So Jerry goes off to college and he writes me a "Dear Dad" postcard everyday for four years. You know what I used to do when I would get some of the cards? I would put my head on my desk and cry. Do you know why? He was thinking thoughts that I never dreamed a young person could think. Now he didn't have the full meaning of them, but he had read and he had the thoughts in his mind. So I would like to read you a couple cards from college to me.

"Dear Dad, It's tremendous to be able to know that when you are in a slump, just as a baseball player will break out in time, so will you break out of yours. Yes, time really cures things. Like you said, you don't lose any problems, you just get bigger and better ones, tremendous ones. Tremendously, too. Jerry"

"Dear Dad, Just started reading a hundred Great Lives. Thanks for what you said in the front. The part that every great man never sought to be great. He just followed the vision he had and did what had to be done. Love, Jerry."

Happy Reading!

Charlie "Tremendous" Jones