Although my bookcase at home is loaded with new books asking to be read, and despite the wonderful new books that Brown Library has added to its collection this year, I recently went “old school” and picked up a book first published in 1960: You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt. After reading it, I now understand why Mrs. Roosevelt is revered for her work as a diplomat, humanitarian, and activist.
In You Learn by Living, Mrs. Roosevelt shares details from her life, such as being orphaned at an early age, attending boarding school in London, and marrying her distant cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States. What is striking about the book, however, is the common sense advice and sound ideas written almost fifty years ago, yet still so relevant today. For example, check out one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Never, perhaps, have any of us needed as much as we do today to use all the curiosity we have, needed to seek new knowledge, needed to realize that no knowledge is terminal. For almost everything in our world is new, startlingly new. None of us can afford to stop learning or to check our curiosity about new things, or to lose our humility in the face of new situations.”
Doesn’t this quote sound like something you would read in a magazine or textbook published today?
With timeless themes of responsibility, initiative, hard work, and making good choices, this book has become one of my favorites.
Phonographs—Boom Boxes—Cd Players—iPods
Bustles—Zoot Suits—”Members Only” Jackets—Hoodies
Common Sense—Never goes out of style.
——Lynn Hancock Hurt, Technical Services Librarian