I love reading, but when I read a book that inspires me to take action and get to work on what I really love, it’s a rush. No books do that more than the books that recount the tales of the rebels who went against the norm and those that encourage readers to achieve something big.
I’ve only read two books that have given me this feeling. The first, Masters of Doom is about John Carmack and John Romero, the creators of the game Doom, and the second is Tribes, Seth Godin‘s newest book about going against the system, and taking the risks that are needed to create meaning in a way that people gather and form tribes around. This is not a review of either book, but an encouragement to find, to buy and to read these books as down-to-earth motivators, to move past any obstacles you’ve come across that have hindered your ability to accomplish big things.
I think these books serve an important purpose in showing students how goals in life and ideas behind accomplishment need not be measured in only monetary units, as well as how there’s no one correct path to take that requires strict following of rules of education or business that are so common and that for so many people, dictate the behaviour that’s expected of them.
While Masters of Doom provides by example what happened when two teenagers followed their ideas no matter where it would take them or what it would cost, Seth’s book almost reads like scripture with each of its passages communicating a particular idea, one message at a time.
In talking about the scenario of companies hiring people who have been trained to be obedient, and who are given brain-dead jobs he says:
Training a student to be a sheep is a lot easier than the alternative. Teaching to the test, ensuring compliant behavior, and using fear as a motivator are the easiest and fastest ways to get a kid through school. So why does it surprise us that we graduate so many sheep? – Seth Godin, Tribes
In an environment where, minus a few exceptions, school administrations and professors are also the sheep, the system is in a perpetual state of conformity. That’s why these books are so important. It’s heresy. And we need it.
It’s not important if reading these books give you ideas of literally quitting school or not. That’s not what I’m recommending. What’s important is that reading these books open your mind to the idea that systematic education like we know it isn’t the one and only answer.
What do you think?
Are there similar books you recommend reading?
What did you think of either of these two books?