And yes, this is a basic promo post for libraries.
So, here we go. I will present the author's suggestions, then my humble observations:
- "Subscribe to The Economist and read every issue religiously. Cost: $97 + 60 minutes each week." Read it at your local public library, which is likely to subscribe to it already. Cost then would be free. And if you need additional information about something you read in the magazine, you can always ask the reference librarian.
- "Read the basic texts of the major world religions: the Torah, the New Testament, the Koran, and the teachings of Buddha. Visit a church, a mosque, a synagogue, and a temple. Cost: Materials can be obtained free online or in the mail — or for less than $50 + 20 hours." If you go to the library, these will pretty much be free. Libraries usually keep a copy of major world religion texts both for reference as well as for readers. He does make a good point: you can often get materials free from the religious organizations (this does vary from group to group). The idea of visiting places of worship I think is a good one, and it is one I think more people should do. It certainly is one I should try out some more; besides Catholic church, I've only been inside some Protestant churches, usually because someone I knew had some function I was invited to. In terms of reading the texts, I think I have a good track record, but there are still a few more out there to read.
- " Read at least 30 nonfiction books and 20 classic novels. Cost: approximately $750 (be sure to support Powell's!)" Again, go to your local library. However, I will say this with a bit of a grain of salt. If the books you want to read are things you will only read once, definitely borrow them. If you think you will reread them or need them later, then do buy them. For classics, you can read a lot of them online via things like Project Gutenberg, which also has option for downloading e-books of classics to your reading device. The cost is pretty much free, unless you sprung for a reading device. Also, I would try to be a bit selective about what books to read. There are a lot of "classics" which are, to be blunt, a waste of time (or to be charitable, may not be the best for you as a reader).As for nonfiction, if all you read is Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, or Keith Olbermann (what, you thought I was just going to only mention right wing people?), you won't get very far in your education. Need help deciding what to read? Many public libraries have librarians who specialize in reader's advisory. Ask them what may be good to read. And yes, I do reader's advisory too, so you can ask me as well.
- "Instead of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, read The Know-It-All by A. J. Jacobs, a good summary. Cost: $10 or less." If Jacobs' other book is any indication, this one is one to borrow, not buy. The book is not bad, just not a keeper.