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In addition to the opening quote from Ruskin, I got this from the Wall Street Journal as well:
How many of our citizens could build a nuclear power station, judge a case in Chancery, read a grant of land in medieval Latin, conduct a Mozart concerto, solve an equation in aerodynamics, repair a railroad engine? We don't need to have the knowledge ourselves, provided there are others, the experts, who possess it. And the more we outsource our memory and information to our iPhones and laptops, the more those experts are needed. If that is so, then the state must ensure that education, however available and however distributed, will reproduce our store of knowledge, and if possible add to it. . . .
The state has another and greater duty which is a duty towards us all - namely, the duty to conserve the knowledge that we need, which can be passed on only with the help of the children able to acquire it.
I stumbled across The Art of Manliness and saw they had a list of 100 things every man should know. I'm good on about 90 of them. I'll skip the one about the bear attack, I can't speak a foreign language and I can't swim a lick. Nor can I whistle with my fingers. That one I would like to be able to do. My Pops did that using his thumb and middle finger of his right hand. Always admired that. However, one of the items on the list is to read. Not just read, but read to glean information. I'm thinking I'm real solid on that one as well as number 60 on the list, being able to throw a knock-out punch - in fact, I've been on both ends of that one.
The Art of Manliness also has a list of 100 books every man should read - lots of classics as you would expect - but while I didn't actually count the number of those on the list I've already read, I'd guess I'd be lucky to have read even half of them. I've read the ones on the list by Hemingway. In fact I've read most all of his stuff. I didn't see Robert Ruark on the list but I would definitely add The Old Man and The Boy and maybe something by Jeff Cooper, which I'm ashamed to say, I've never read. I've read some of his things that were in Guns &Ammo but never came across any of his books at the library or second hand stores. It appears that they are available for purchase at the link, so I might have to do just that. As far as the rest of the books on the list, no way I'm tackling all 1000 pages of Atlas Shrugged or making a third or fourth attempt at Zen and the Art of Motorcycling Maintenance. I'd rather spend my time learning how to whistle with my fingers. I do plan on reading a few of the others in the future, however.
So. Be a man and read a book. Learn some skills every real man should know. Take that knowledge and be sure it's passed along to the younger generation. Practice the Art of Manliness. We need more of that.