As I walked past him on the sidewalk, the total stranger whirled around and asked, his eyes very wide open, “Where did you get that book?”
I knew that he really wanted to know, because it IS such a wonderful book. I sensed that he knew of it and really was interested in finding out where they were being sold.
The book was THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, by Michael H. Hart, and I had actually bought it in an antique store.
“Isn’t it the most incredible book?” he asked, his mouth open and grinning ear to ear.
“Yes, it certainly is!” I agreed. After we had exchanged a few more words of praise for it, he departed and I continued on to my destination.
The fact is that this book is surely the most compelling, clear, and important history book of any I own, not to mention thought provoking and entertaining.
Hart holds master’s degrees in physics and computer science from Cornell. He then became a math major and obtained a PhD in astronomy from Princeton. His mind is razor sharp and he is an excellent writer.
Here’s what I love about this book:
1. From it I can finally perceive the whole scope of history and fill up many of the “Swiss cheese holes” in my brain caused by my ridiculous “education.”
2. Real people come to life; their stories are juicy; their wonderful contributions or dastardly deeds are revealed in fresh ways.
3. At last I can understand the total context: what really IS the important “take away” in the vast ocean of historical facts.
It’s one of those rare tools in life that imparts comprehension. So fascinating is it that it has kept me up many nights, captivated and intrigued by its wonderfully engrossing details. I have absorbed more historical facts and perspectives from this one book than from all the history textbooks and classes of my entire life.
The new learning center will be like this book: intriguing, exciting, wonderfully clear, imparting the whole scope of things.