My Mom Reads A LOT, But She Wouldn’t Read This One…

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When people ask me what got me into books — I’ve written 27 of them and have at least 2 more coming this year; I’ve read more than 200 — I have to credit my mother. 

My mom is an educator. She used to tutor other people’s kids who were struggling in school. Some of the pre-K kids she taught ended up skipping grades in elementary school. She had my sister and me reading and writing before we started school; my sister went on to academic stardom (she skipped 2nd grade herself and is now a Law professor at UCLA). 

Mom reads vociferously. I sent her a physical copy of my book Work On Your Game and she read the whole thing in a weekend. She read Dre Philosophy Vol. 0 — an 800 page book — in a few weeks(?!?!). 

When I sent her Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life, and a book with a simple title that belies the deep philosophy within its 400 pages, she read that, too, along with many others I’ve recommended or gifted. 

So I was surprised to hear that the most recent book I sent to my mother hasn’t been completed. 

The book in question by a guy named Thomas Sowell. When it comes to Sowell, you are either a big fan, or you have no idea who he is. In my experience, no one is in-between. 

I’m sure I’ll talk about Sowell more in the future, but the book I sent my mother is called Charter Schools And Their Enemies. In a break from most of the books that I send people, I haven’t read this one yet myself. I sent it to my mom since it’s about education, and because I’ve heard Sowell talk about charter schools versus public schools, and how teacher’s unions (ie public school teachers) do all they can to eliminate competition, such as charter schools. 

Sowell makes it clear even in his interviews that he doesn’t like this truth about eliminating what they call “school choice.” His book, like all his work, uses heavy research and data to explain why.  

My mom sent her kids to public schools. She’s worked in them as well. As far as I know, she’s never been involved with a charter school. So I knew this book would challenge some of her beliefs about education. 

I sent the 288-page Sowell book months ago — delivered on October 20, according to Amazon. 

In late January, I asked mom if she’d ever finished reading that book? 

“I started it, but didn’t finish it.”



One thing we’ve all learned over the last year-plus is how volatile disagreements can get. 

I’ve observed that a healthy percentage of people — I’ll estimate around 87% — should not be engaged in any conversation in which their beliefs will be challenged or even questioned. They’re not open to the possibility of a different perspective. 

That’s fine, I suppose. 

I don’t think my mom is open to what Thomas Sowell has to say about teacher’s unions and public schools, and the part of the book that she did read told her enough of what was to come to cause the abortion of her consumption. 

That doesn’t make her a bad person. She raised me, after all, and look how that turned out 😁. 

What I do think: this “soft skill” of engaging through disagreement is a dying art, an art that will make you a much more versatile person as more people become the opposite —less tolerant of any belief-challenging ideas. 

I go deep on this topic in episode #1098: Why You Need To Converse With Those Who Disagree With You. 

Listen here: 

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