I've always believed that what largely separates people from all classes and walks of life is whether or not they are readers. Of both fiction and nonfiction.
I've always winced when a fellow speaker or workshop leader would say to me,
"Oh I read a lot of books, and they're all about business, motivation, and self-help." When I ask if they ever sit down with a novel, they back away as if I suggested they spend their time in some totally frivolous pursuit. But while self-help books offer some useful instructions for life, novels are life.
They reflect, no matter how imaginary their content, the perspectives of an observant life led by the author. And I firmly believe people who read novels are more interesting than people who don't. And more interesting people attract more success in life, a richer, fuller existence.
I wrote in that Chicken Soup piece, "Through the magic provided by books, I no longer have to lay on my narrow bunk with severe restrictions on my movement or schedule. Instead, I can fly to the Middle East on a secret peace mission for my government, walk along the hills and valleys of eighteenth-century New England, or fall in love and raise a family in Paris. Books have always been my passport to enrich both my mind and spirit, but now they are essential to my emotional survival. Any book can lift me out of my confined existence. The best ones are those where I vanish into the pages, moved by the author's language and imagination."
When was the last time you vanished into some pages? I ended up reading over 1000 books during 12 years of incarceration. And I have to give a lot of credit to that fact for the heightened creativity, focus, productivity I've been enjoying since my release. At least 80% of that were novels.
And I've noticed an interesting phenomenon that I've never seen discussed before. Most novels are not about someone achieving financial success, they are about richer things than that with material gain merely a sidebar. They reflect my fuller definition of prosperity as about much more than money, about love and creative satisfaction, and friendship, and an interesting and adventurous life well-lived. I think they have it right.
If you haven't done so recently, pick up a book and have your own great escape.
In terms of nonfiction books, I just recently listed the five I would most like to see updated by their authors, now all deceased, on my prosperity-focused blog, www.MoneyloveBlog.com You can also access the opt-in link to download free my new book, The Moneylove Manifesto.