Some months are slimmer for reading than others. That is true about September. However, what I did read make quite an impact

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

This is an older book, this edition coming from about the time I graduated from high school. However, it was a book I kept on my list for years.

While most people know how to read, many people do not know how to get the most out of their reading. The book is detailed and, in some ways, something to wade through at times. However, it’s basic rules have unlocked more of the material I have read since.

And since I do public speaking, his instructions about reading applied directly to the spoken word as well as the written one. I found it especially helpful to start reading or speaking with two central questions.

What is the unity? What is the point that holds it together?

What questions is the author (speaker) answering? If he is not answering questions, he becomes a wandering generality.

How Ike Lead by Susan Eisenhower

Eisenhower was in the midst of his presidency when I was born. I have no recollection of his terms except through history. And, Eisenhower tends to be overlooked as a bridge between Roosevelt and Kennedy.

It is an unfair and unjustifiable conclusion.

His stature with presidential histories have gone from one of the lesser presidents to one of the more effective ones. His ability to compromise to accomplish greater goals and work with parties on both sides of the aisle helped America push through the Cold War.

The book is written by his granddaughter, but it is not a sentimental look at a grandfather. Susan Eisenhower has dug into the evidence and shown Eisenhower as he was, not as a granddaughter would see him. However, she does give some insights that can only come from a family member.

I came away wishing for political leaders with more of the traits of an Eisenhower.

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Holiday is a writer who looks at life through the Stoic perspective. He brings to forefront Socrates, Aristotle, and Epitetus. But he does it in an informative and challenging way.

In the book, Holiday dismisses the myth of the “easy life.” Great lives happen because they use challenge and obstacles as vaulting horses to new levels.

When you read one of Holiday’s books, you always feel challenged and smarter.