In The Arena

I decided at the beginning of July to read at least a book a month for the remainder of the year. Since I don’t work in July (well I don’t work as much in July, I still work a lot in July), I read several books.  I read for pleasure (fiction), read a self-help type book, read a history / conspiracy book, and read a solid non-fiction history book.  It was a decent spread style wise.  My July reading list includes:

Not too bad.  Before those books I hadn’t picked up a book to read in a while.  Back in January and February I read The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby.  So I reached 5 books, even if some of them were short and were fiction / self help books.

For my August book I grabbed In the Arena by Richard Nixon.  Yes, that Richard Nixon.  I picked this book up for a 25 cents at a garage book sale down the street – all she was selling was books and a few dvd’s!  It wasn’t bad.  It is more memoir than autobiography, but was a worthwhile read.

Some select quotes I found interesting:

  • pg. 90 – “I treasure the friendship and wise counsel Billy Graham had extended me over the years. On a few occasions, however, I have been in the position of advising him…. I urged him not to join the Moral Majority, …. Because I believe a minister cannot carry out his major mission in life as effectively if he dabbles in politics…. A minister’s mission is to change the lives of men and women, not change governments.”
  • pg. 120 – “You must live your life for something more important than your life alone. One who had never lost himself in a cause bigger than himself has missed one of life’s Mountain top experiences.”
  • pg. 154 – “Act as men of thought.  Think as men of action.”  He attributes this quote to Henri Bergson.
  • pg. 200 – “The incumbency lock is another highly negative characteristic of today’s politics. Congress had become an incumbent’s protective association…. Unless the incumbency lock is broken by eliminating gerrymandering and allowing challengers to compete with incumbents on a more level playing field, we will have completely vitiated the Founders’ goal of a Congress that renews itself constantly to reflect the changing views of the voters. “
  • pg. 203 – “A candidate’s primary purpose in getting into politics should never be self interest.”
  • pg. 213 – “A leader should never speak ‘off the top of his head.’ His words are important, and he owes it to his audience to think about them before he speaks.”
  • pg. 273 – “Brilliant people are often difficult and contentious. It is a mistake to exclude them….”
  • pg. 279 – “Most critics of the “imperial Presidency” magically transform into busted of a strong White House when a President who advocates policies they agree with is in power.”
  • pg. 288 – “I can understand people feeling single about special issues such as abortion, gun control, and ERA. But they should always step back and consider the alternative. Sometimes it is necessary to make a painful decision to support a candidate who may be wrong on your pet outside but right on most others.”
  • pg. 303 – “They (the founders) understood the tremendous power of religious and ideological beliefs – and recognized their capacity to tear asunder the bounds of society.”
  • pg. 337 – “A day did not pass during my years in the White House that I did not hate the war in Vietnam.”
  • pg. 360 – “While each individual must confront old age in his own way, some basic guidelines apply to everyone: Keep fit, keep active, and keep up with what’s going on in the world.”

Nothing revolutionary, but still interesting.  You can probably tell I didn’t start keeping track of interesting quotes until about a third of the way into the book.  I have found that the addition of a rocking chair to my front porch has made reading much more enjoyable.

Next up for my September read: 1177: The Year Civilization Collapsed by Eric H. Cline. It’s about the collapse of Bronze Age Civilizations.  Reading more non-fiction was a goal as well, and since I really enjoy history, why not focus on history books.  I’m also reading, more like light perusing, Building School Culture One Week at a Time by Jeffrey Zoul.  I had decided I should do some reading for work beyond what I’m doing in my grad school classes.  I am trying to read that book in the mornings as part of a morning routine since it is broken up into 3 – 8 page chapters, really a pretty light and quick read.  I’m not succeeding at that morning routine thing right now.  So much for the The Miracle Morning.  But I want to have a morning routine, so that’s something.

If anyone’s curious, I’m using Trello to keep track of the books I’m reading / have read, track quotes, and identify any books I want to read.  It has worked well so far for me, and made it really easy to just copy and paste quotes I had written from In the Arena into this post.

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