Guys who excel academically read copiously as boys, true or false? Patently false, and it’s always about WHAT particular book turned them on, if they eventually transformed from non-readers to eager readers.
Edward Osborne “E. O.” Wilson is an American biologist and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for The Social Conquest of Earth and Letters to a Young Scientist. He is also known as “the father of socio-biology” and “the father of biodiversity.”
The former Harvard University professor recently revealed that he read only two books cover to cover during high school, and almost never visited his local library. (“Libraries were not part of the culture in which I was raised.”)
He attributes his turnaround to Handbook for Boys, the official guide of the Boy Scouts of America. Whatever challenges the organization may still be meeting in adapting to current day issues, he says its promotion of individualism, responsibility, empowerment and the philosophy of taking hold and learning by doing, spoke to him as a youth.
The Handbook for Boys, he says, is true to the maxim, “Teach me, I forget; show me, I remember; involve me, I understand.”
A quotable quote from a former reluctant reader who has enjoyed an impressive share of success in life.
from The New York Times Book Review, p. 57, Nov. 9, 2014: “Author’s Note: A Manual for Life”