No. 409


It has been said that, "Learning is a matter of reading books no one has ever heard of." It is a real privilege for me to tell you about a new book that may never make the New York Times best seller list, but never-the-less will provide learning and inspiration for thousands and thousands of people across this great country of ours. The title of the book is "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" and there is a concept behind this title that I will share later, and I believe it will be of interest to you.

Several months ago I asked for feedback regarding a new book idea that was suggested by a state press director in another state. Mrs. Carolyn Wilson, Executive Director of the Mississippi Press Association, suggested that I compile a book of my columns and that most of the profits be given to the NIE (Newspaper In Education) programs and the scholarship foundations to provide money for students who are pursuing a career in journalism. The response from my readers across the nation has been wonderful and many of you also suggested columns that should be included.

We took your suggestions and the book is now out and is being sold exclusively through newspapers. This is because, based on the title, I wanted to be able to "Give Back" to students in our schools and newspapers across America who have been so good to me. It has been a most rewarding and fulfilling career to work with administrators, teachers and students in our schools for almost 20 years and later with the newspapers that were willing to run this column. Without these newspaper people being willing to give me a chance, there is no way I could have achieved any measure of success and for that I am most grateful.

The book sells for $15.95 and of this amount $6.00 goes to the local paper and $3.00 goes to the state press association to provide scholarships. You see, when you purchase "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" $9.00 stays in your state and $6.00 of this amount stays in our own community. I have been an NIE sponsor in our community for the past five years and while most parents can't make this kind of financial commitment they can buy a great book if they know where the money is going. Over the past several weeks I have talked with almost all of the state press directors in the country and the vast majority are highly enthusiastic about promoting the book and their member papers, making it available to people in their community. For more information and to purchase the book, contact your local paper or visit my web site at

Many other newspaper people have provided encouragement, ideas and suggestions, especially Dennis Schick, Director of Arkansas Press Association, Jim Fall, Director of the Montana Newspaper Association and Max Heath, V.P. of Landmark Community Newspapers based in Shelbyville, Kentucky. In addition to suggestions from readers, we invited nine award-winning journalists to read all the columns and select those to be included. I believe you will find the mix of titles and the contents to be broad based and contain something for every reader. The bio sketches and photos for each member of the Column Selection Committee are also featured in the book.

As the book began to take shape, I also wanted some notable person who epitomized the kind of values that has made our nation the greatest on earth, to write the Foreword for the book. I am happy to tell you that S. Truett Cathy, Founder of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain in Atlanta, Georgia, accepted my invitation to do this. Mr. Cathy's company had $1.2 Billion in sales in 2002, and his restaurants are not open on Sundays, one of the busiest days of the week for fast food restaurants. If you don't know his story, you should, and his wonderful book "EAT MOR CHIKIN·Inspire More People," published by Looking Glass Books is available in most bookstores.

Earlier I said you may be interested in the concept behind "Learning, Earning & Giving Back". The average life expectancy in the United States is about 75 years. If you divide that into thirds, the first 25 years could be called the "Learning Years," the second 25 years could be called the "Earning Years" and the final years could be called the "Giving Back" years. This is the primary focus, even though most of us do some of all three during our lifetime and if we have done well in the first two, that is "learning and earning," we are in a much better position to be able to give back when we get older. We all need inspiration and good ideas to feed our minds on a regular basis and this is why "Learning, Earning & Giving Back" could make a wonderful difference in your life. You can also pass along many of these ideas to your children and grandchildren or others close to you. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)