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Gene Roddenberry on The Value of Reading Books

Gene Roddenberry, television screenwriter and creator of Star Trek, makes this worthwhile observation on why we should all be reading more books.


Gene Roddenberry visiting the Shuttle Enterprise with the cast of Star Trek
Gene Roddenberry (in dark brown suit) visiting the Shuttle Enterprise with the cast of Star Trek | Wikipedia

"I consider reading the greatest bargain in the world. A shelf of books is a shelf of many lives and ideas and imaginations which the reader can enjoy whenever he wishes and as often as he wishes. Instead of experiencing just one life, the book-lover can experience hundreds or even thousands of lives. He can live any kind of adventure in the world. Books are his time machine into the past and also into the future. Books are his "transporter" by which he can beam instantly to any part of the universe and explore what he finds there. Books are an instrument by which he can become any person for a while - a man, a woman, a child, a general, a farmer, a detective, a king, a doctor, anyone.


Great books are especially valuable because a great book often contains within its covers the wisdom of a man or woman's whole lifetime. But the true lover of books enjoys all kinds of books, even some nonsense now and then, because enjoying nonsense from others can teach us to also laugh at ourselves. A person who does not learn to laugh at his own problems and weaknesses and foolishness can never be a truly educated or a truly happy person. Also, probably the same thing could be said of a person who does not enjoy learning and growing all his life."

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