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Why Old Books Are Better Than New Books

Why Old Books Are Better Than New Books

Books, both old and new, are great things, but our culture emphasizes that “newer” things are often better. It’s hard to say no to your favorite contemporary writer or an amazing up-and-coming author’s latest publication, but I’m inclined to read the classics first. It can be a little daunting when there’s so much out there and you have a million things on your to-do list, but it’s always worth it to pick up an old book between reading newer ones. Here’s why old classic books stand out from new books.

1. They are free

The old classics are usually free or deeply discounted at used book stores, book fairs or thrift stores. There are many ways to go about finding these free books: The first obvious place would be your local library, which I think is the most underrated institution of our time. There are some lovely “free bookstores” online such as Project Gutenberg and Bartleby, which provide free e-books, and Librivox, a website providing free audio books.

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2. They show a different way of life from another time

Older books are valuable because they show life from another time. Many books are stories or myths from the past, stemming from titles like Beowulf and To Kill a Mockingbird. Everyone knows about these stories. Each book has a tale to tell from that point in history, animated in the color of your imagination. In this sense, reading an old book is almost like visiting a highly interpretative museum.

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3. They are for everybody

Old books do not discriminate against age. Some of the best stories of all time were stories for children, such as anything written by the Brother’s Grimm or Beatrix Potter. Pretty much any movie produced by Disney (The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan) has probably come from a really awesome kid’s book. Even The Hobbit was initially written for children. What’s great is that you don’t have to be a child to enjoy these books as an adult. Pick up The Princess and the Pea or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and tell me that there isn’t a moral you can’t learn from those story.

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4. They provide context

Classics can give you a new perspective on an old idea. Reading an old book helps you understand references and conversations, no matter how high-brow or low-brow they are. In fact, old books can provide a huge sense of inspiration, and you don’t necessarily have to be a writer to be inspired. Filmmakers, costume designers and academics rely on classic novels to learn, understand, re-create a story, or prove a point.

5. They will be relevant for future generations

Invest in reading a quality old book for literature class or leisure and you’ll remember it forever. Chances are it will even be referred to in pop culture either implicitly or explicitly. How many Simpsons episodes have you watched that had literary references in them? I bet there are more references in that show than you can shake a stick at. Just because a book is old, it doesn’t mean it has lost its relevance.

6. They don’t need to prove themselves

The best old classical books have stood the test of time, but new books are still in a probationary period with readers. “The ages bear testimony to the validity of their ideas,” Michael Hyatt writes about old books. Ideas and thoughts constantly float through our heads daily, but the best ideas are solidified and executed. There is no test for old novels to pass because the best ones have been passed on by many generations.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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