Years before he became president, Harry Truman owned a haberdashery that doubled as a local hang-out. A kid named Albert Ridge would often head there after his shift at the neighborhood grocery store. For the rest of his life, Ridge would tell the story of the time Truman gave him a list of ten books to read. It included books like Plutarchs Lives, Caesars Commentaries, and Benjamin Franklins Autobiography.
Al, Truman said, youll find a good deal in there about how to make use of every minute of your day and a lot of horse sense about people.
Its reminiscent of one of the formative scenes in Marcus life. As a young man, he was given a copy of the lectures of Epictetus. He read through it, again and again, on his way to becoming one the great kings in history. He would thank his teacher Rusticus for changing his life with that single recommendation.
Albert Ridges life was also changed by the books he was recommended. He learned a lot about people and how to make the most of his time, just as Truman promised. He started going to law school at night, then went on to be a United States Circuit Judge under President Kennedy.
From the neighborhood grocery store to the U.S. federal court; from a promising young boy to the head of the Roman empire; from a farm in Missouri to the presidency of the United States. That is the power of reading. As Truman also said, not all readers are leaders, but there is nothing better to start you on the path to leadership than reading great books.