tv Gary Hoover The Lifetime Learners Guide to Reading and Learning CSPAN November 10, 2021 12:26am-12:53am EST
c-span.org/history. >> presidential historian greg calls the autobiography of calvin coolidge the forgotten classic of presidential writing. the new authorized expanded and annotated division of coolidge autobiography has just been published by isi books. editors amadeus leis and matt denhardt quoted coolidge in the introduction as saying it is a great advantage to a president in a major source of safety to the country for him to know that he is not a great man. we asked amadeus -- amity she that was published in 1929, years ago. >> the calvin coolidge
foundation amadeus leis on this episode of booknotes plus. booknotes plus is available on the c-span app or wherever you get your podcasts. gary hoover is the author of this book, the lifetime learners guide to reading and learning. before we get through the themes of the book. in your biography it says you bilive in the 33 room house, 32 rooms of which contain books. 57,000 books in total. explain. a. >> a few more came last week. so i've got to be closer to 60,000. it's an addiction and there is no 12 step program for book collectors. >> 33ct room house. >> i found a good bargain on an abandoned community health clinic in a small town in texas
so it's got all these little exam rooms perfect for filling up. it is a very unusual living arrangement, toal put it mildly. >> how many of those books have you read? >> i actually don't read books. or with limit. so i have a method. it's in the book we are talking about today. i call it a digesting. and what im is an information junkie. i started collecting world atlases and maps when i was like 7-years-old. just trying to figure out how the world works and my goal was to have a personal reference library where i could look up anything in a book and a lot of things you cannot answer in a d book that anything in the book and began to build this nonfiction reference library. and so there is very little fiction, but it covers almost every subject imaginable as far
as nonfiction books and people are surprised when i say 70% of my library is not available online. so to say to young people i look it up online and there's so much great stuff. old stuff that hadn't been scanned or other stuff on copyright. but my method i normally spend 15 to 30 minutes when i get a new book to grasp what it's about. it wouldn't work for a novel but it's for nonfiction books into the stuff i read, sciences and stuff,no there's a lot of histot a lot of geography and to get the fundamental ideas of the book. ands i have a method i go to. for example, i look at the index first. i will use amazon look inside to see the index when it's available. but i look for things i already know something about because i read those sections that allow me to remember everything i see. but i am not a speed reader. i don't scan or anything like that. it's about slowing down and thinking about the book and
realizing that it's mine now. i bought it and i don't have to read it sequentially from front to back. i can skip around and a study of the table of contents for 20 minutes to get the whole concept. and if i want to go longer than a half hour, i'm good with a good encyclopedia but i will often spend two or three hours with. ..
that's not online and the other thing about online is when you try to study long-term trends which fascinate me because it's really the only way to see the future clear is internet is also on long-term trends. if you try to look up something like what beverages americans consume, whatever you know, beer or wine, coca-cola, all you'll find is this year against last year and this month against last month. nobody looks out more than say years would be a long-term chart and you can
google long-term chart on any subject and yet i go back in my book, special government publications and i can find those answers back 50 years or 100 years is what you need to understand what's going on . and then i do a lot more things than just beverage consumption. >> you say you are a proponent of wikipedia. >> yes. i'll tell you, i believe you always have to be a skeptic, not a cynic where you always got people's motives but a skeptic. born in missouri, show me. in business history, wikipedia is often awful. sometimes it's okay but i used to work at the company or somebody who hates the company, read a history of the company that is 100 years old and it'll say two lines about the founding and in 2007 a sold out to so-and-so. there's all that missing but
on the other hand if i want to look up a type ofbird, a city , its population, wikipedia is pretty darn good but certainly if i'm going to put something in writing in the book or in one of my blogs and newsletters i'm going to check and double check and make sure the sources are right. but >> you are i am among my first patient as it continues today and i started with a book stores we did. and we were the first giant the discount store and when we were seven years old barnes &
noble got into the business. and then we created the the biggest website about information companies in the world than that went public but then to go back to retailing to start a travel business with airline tickets i lost all the money that i had made. so i have a big house on lake austin. to and a half acres and i sold all that and i downsized so they never sold a book. i have given away a few. i have been a bookseller in collector and author and publisher the books are not going anywhere. >> one of the best in the country. >> and then from 19 oh nine
assigned by theon chairman of the main stockholder. i have all kinds of crazy stuff that i have collected over 65 years or 62 years. >> you write the most fundamental skill of the curious person is to look and observe. >> yeah. i talk a lot about the ways that we learned. so i i get in the classroom i was an entrepreneur in residence and i taught a lot of classes to entrepreneurs so steady with the classroom or watching c-span, something that is
perceived as being passive but shouldn't be. i'm making notes and arguing with the documentarian. so that's one way that we learn and trial and error. conversation is the way most people learn of what they know. as a teach classes of entrepreneurs i take them to the shopping mall they go into teams. t and then to compare the types of cars thates are parked by nordstrom compared to jcpenney that is differentt socioeconomic markets and target markets one has to estimate the annual revenue.
and those that have a business idea those that have never studied business but technology. and then a cosmetics department says macy's then pennies in nordstrom's. compared to the lighting or the flooring it is critically important that most countries never look at them. it's like the stage for a play putting under a retail store. forty-five countries or 2 million digital pictures and videos time life video over the world i'm always just watching and peoplewa watching. how fast are they working? are they in w family groups how do they treat their kids? and as a retailer and applied
social science i studied under milton friedman and great other economics people and i love sociology. the psychology. it's even important finance and marketing and sometimes more rare but to understand you are applying geography and demography in sociology and psychology economics and to really grasp of the world to understand all the human aspects of the world. >> if you go into any reasonably well run supermarket you should be able to come out of their and tell me the ethnicity of the customers average family size, income average just the way a good grocery store is merchandise especially locally
oriented one. even though they are pretty bird biggest to focus on those individual customers at each store so everywhere you look there is so much to be seen everybody is so caught up. i got rid of my smart phone i do still carry a tablet that they are such a distraction and they draw away from seeing and learning things that might be helpful to understand the world. >> do you consider yourself a renaissance man? >> all of those words. i just love to learn. even my mother with my success in business she said what did you learn to do? if you meet someone on the airplane not can i help you get rich but what did you learn from them. i flew into calcutta and gave
a speeche to the president of the millionaires club. i learned a lot more from the driver. that was mikey question. what about literacy rates between men and women in india? at the major block to their development. and if you sit next to me with the plane and you think you will sleep you have another thing coming i have my tablet and i have 1 million questions for you. and the guy is just curious about everything and then going down to latin america and anchors to recap. and virtually all the people that i admire and all the great entrepreneurs haveey this
driven care curiosity they drive the people around them nuts and people say how does that help my sales this month how does that help my stock portfolio? is a relevant questions. but no. sam walton one of the most curious and inquisitive leaders in american business history to don sears which is the retail stocks in the seventies and now sears is dust it is sad it was one of the greatest companies in the world but really it was curiosity it wasn't his money your contacts or where he was headquartered in arkansas but all the things that you might hear added typical mba program. >> in your book the lifetime learners guide you give 160 book recommendations do you
recommend reading shakespeare? >> it is not on the list because i don't eviction. i am not an expert it is parallel that people say will you go on my advisory board? i give advice i've written 10000 business plans but i say no. i will give you names of 20 people right now that no 100 times as much as i do about building a hardware or software company it would be silly for me to go into shakespeare i know a good book on world history oregon social science book. i try to stick to my wheelhouseto.
>> it is critically important and actually i touch on architecture because that is the field because i have two rooms urban studies and architecture. but the moret you read, the other thing, look at how our great ideas created? it is two things that everybody has seen all along. but then a key to that is the more subjects you have studied or have some knowledge of how they think or how anthropologistsle think, that exponentially geometrically increases odds of coming up with a breakthrough idea. when you sort through ideas that i just know dogs and
thcorvettes can all of a sudden you have conrad hilton and the more subjects you arere interested in the more chances of coming up with something innovative so i would never tell anyone not to study any subject. and to always start with the history. where does it come from? who first had this concept and the role it plays in society? i just wrote a newsletter that we published later this week talking about the family and how they ran their business and the way the venture capitalist act today between the money and the people doing the work. it is a little bit of a surprise toth some people.
>> is there any significance to the 160 recommendation? >> i just ran out of steam and pages. i cut it off. i invite people to e-mail me or contact me on my website and ask what is a good book on this? and with my areas of interest i will fire back within an hour or two a within 24 hours ifif i am traveling like i am now to give you a list of books sometimes at the double checked the authors in the titles but i started what i thought was the most important and i would say i have very few bestsellers. i buy relatively few current books i do by recent publications but the huge chunks of my library or pre- 1970 and a decent chunk is
pre- 1920 and a lot of times it was done in the eighties or the nineties and the amazon search tool is a disaster and that is gotten a lot worse in recent years. i love farrs on —- barnes & noble and frequent shopper cards from tel aviv and moscow. i like all the booksellers. but to find an old book i type in the author and the title in google search and then the amazon link pops up that is usually much faster instead of searching and amazon it makes my life easier. host: how to read about the classic guide to intelligent reading.
>> that is a great book. if i recall there are five different methods of reading a book and i was pleased to see that my method is fairly close toal what they call instructional reading. and another thing they mention maybe this may be the next level that they should do more often is i get three or four or five books on the same subject and then laid them out. so was trying toe understand the palestine israeli conflict but then there is three or four books down the middle and really tell the history. i had three or four and i could lay them out and turn the pages say here are two
views and one amazing guy i was studying the whole life and the record industry and then to realize almost every business story and history story there are two views anytime there is a meeting this is what they said and that's what they said. because how may people discover the beatles? i guest thousands the on the group bombs nobody ever met with them or had anything to do with them. i'm blessed to be in the book publishing business and what i found extremely high level of honesty and integrity. and all these people left and right. it's very interesting how he lives his whole life and eric
clapton and all of these guys and make jager because he was such a force in the industry. >> you seem to use a lot of quotations in your writing. is that purposeful? >> i have been writing all my life from high school my teacher mrs. simmons and then university of chicago and working on wall street. i had an m english teacher is a senior analyst. you develop your writing style. you get to a point we feel comfortable with it and then
you tend to overuse some certain techniques. but usually when i use r quotation marks from when somebody is saying something i say i'm not sure if that means what they say it means. maybe it was. maybe it wasn't. host: cultivate the skills of contemplation and take the path less traveled. be skeptical. three pieces of advice in the lifetime learners guide to reading and learning. thank you for joining us on booktv. >> thank you for having me. i enjoyed it. have a great day.
>> at the southern festival of books reader and from nashville and a friend of the festival. tonight and want to start out by thinking everyone our key sponsors. ingram content group, tennessee arts commission, and parnassus books thank you so much for making this possible in these extremelynn times. we will be in conversation tonight with two extraordinary african immignt