Originally created 09/30/03

Book club's selection is motivational piece

The Read It! book club begins its second month with Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence, by Ben Carson.

The book, chosen by Paine College President Shirley Lewis, explores the philosophy of Dr. Carson, a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Medical Center. It's a follow-up to his autobiography, Gifted Hands, and it follows To Dance with the White Dog, which was the September selection chosen by Augusta Chronicle Metro Editor Bill Kirby.

Dr. Lewis said she chose the book because Dr. Carson is a realistic, down-to-earth role model for young people. She met him 13 years ago at a Chicago conference where he was the keynote speaker and has followed his work ever since.

"He's got a magnetic way of talking about his life and sharing his philosophy of excellence. At the conference, we were all drawn to him and his story," she said.

Anne Huff, the co-chairwoman for the Friends of Augusta Library's Read It! initiative, said Think Big is a great choice for the burgeoning book club.

"It's certainly is an inspirational book. As well as having impressive medical credentials, he's on a mission to get kids to read," she said.

The message of the book - that even someone who grew up in poverty and wasn't initially a good student can become a world-class neurosurgeon - is important enough to warrant extra attention. Dr. Lewis said it's in sync with the working motto of Paine college, "You can get there from here."

"As an educator, I'm touched by the story of his mother pushing to get him to read," she said. "He never indicates that all the world around him was a failure. It feels realistic, he tells it sincerely."

"We want to give this out to leaders who are willing to read this and discuss this with the kids who need it most," Ms. Huff said.

The Read It! book club, modeled after similar programs in Beaufort, S.C., and Knoxville, Tenn., is still a work in progress. Co-chairwoman Camilla Humphrey said they'll pick up the three-month format again when this three-book series ends in November with Augusta Mayor Bob Young's recommendation, Deep in the Heart.

"We'll take a breather for Christmas and then we're going to try to start up again in January. We anticipate on doing it in January, February and March," she said.

Both Ms. Huff and Ms. Humphrey said the turnout for the first months' discussions were lower than they'd hoped, but remain optimistic.

"We concluded that the answers aren't in the numbers. Many people said they read the book but didn't show up for the discussions," Ms. Huff said.


Discussions for Think Big will be held at noon Monday at the Main Branch; 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, at the Maxwell branch; and 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16, at the Gibbs branch. Call 821-2600 for information.


The October Read It! title is an acrostic that translates into:

  • T-Talents/time: Recognize them as gifts.
  • H-Hope for all good things and be honest.
  • I-Insight from people and good books.
  • N-Be nice to all people.
  • K-Knowledge: Recognize it as the key to living.
  • B-Books: Read them actively.
  • I-In-depth learning skills: Develop them.
  • G-God: Never get too big for Him.

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