I have felt challenged recently to change some things in my life. One being that I have read many books, but they have been predominantly fiction. After hearing from many sources that successful people read some number of non-fiction books a year, I finally decided to yield to the peer pressure.
About a month ago, I started reading a biography of John Adams. I had not intended to study Adams, and was actually reading through reviews on biographies of George Washington, as I had a desire to study our founding fathers, Washington being the most commonly referenced. The reviews were conflicted and pointed to a lack of written correspondence left behind by Washington as one of the reasons less was known of his private life. Apparently, Martha Washington burned all of their letters when her husband died. Since I was specifically interested in their private lives, to get an idea of their character, I became discouraged.
I then read in one of the reviews where the reviewer stated he would like to see David McCullough write a biography of Washington. Intrigued to find out what McCullough had written, I found a biography of John Adams by McCullough. The reviews told that letters between Adams and his wife Abigail were referenced often in the book and were plentiful. So, I ordered the book immediately.
Having only read a quarter of the book so far, I am again challenged; this time to start journaling. Adams not only wrote many letters to members of Congress and his family, but also kept an extensive journal. It is one of the tools McCullough uses to give us a glimpse of the character of Adams. So, while I am not a member of congress, nor a foreign diplomat, nor do I intend to be President some day, I have decided journaling would be a good discipline to have. Hopefully, this is but the first of many entries.