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Monday, April 27, 2009


The Best Teacher

Throughout my time in the publishing community, I've had some unforgettable experiences--good and bad. I've written about a few of them in these entries on The Writing Life, which is one of my consistent themes.

When I've gone through some difficult or challenging experience, after it is over, I have often looked back and said to myself the common saying, "Experience is the best teacher."

In some ways, the saying is true because I've personally experienced it I will take measured steps to avoid going through that experience again. But is experience the best teacher?

Last week, I wrote about a new book, The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective by Andy Andrews. There are many valuable insights in this little book and in this entry I wanted to write about another one.

Jones, the central person in the book, is a noticer. During a difficult time in Andy Andrews' life, Jones makes a special introduction:

"'Do you read?' he asked. As I nodded, he added, 'I'm not asking if you can read, I'm asking if you do.'

'Yes,' I responded, 'Mostly magazines and stuff, but I do.'

'Good enough,' Jones said. 'Read these.'

I looked at what he handed me in the semidarkness. The titles were all names. Winston Churchill. Will Rogers. George Washington Carver. I glanced back up at him. 'History books?'

'No,' he said with a twinkle in his eye, 'adventure stories! Success, failure, romance, intrigue, tragedy, and triumph--and the best part is that every word is true! Remember, young man, experience is not the best teacher. Other people's experiences is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.'" (page 9)

I readily identified with this section of The Noticer. Why? I've always loved biographies and read many of them. I've learned so much from each one of them. It's part of the reason that I've written magazine profiles about more than 150 bestselling authors. In the process of writing those stories, I learn massive amounts of material about their experiences.

To me, it is a partial explanation why I've written numerous biographies such as Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Luis Palau, John Perkins and many more.

Have you unlocked the secrets to greatness as you read about other people's experiences?

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9 Comment:

At 9:16 AM, Blogger lynnmosher Left a note...

Terry, I love the point you've made. Others' experiences really are great examples for us. I've been wanting to get Andy's book. Thanks!

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger Debbie Left a note...

I love biographies too. I've learned much about people going through extremely difficult experiences from Corrie ten Boom. A friend of mine wrote a post this morning about this book. She also loved it. Here's her link: http://laurelwreathsreflections.com/2009/04/noticer-andy-andrews

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Lawrence J. Caldwell Left a note...

As I experience the reality of John 17:21a, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:", there is a threefold expansion of the "best teacher" you describe.

First, my Teacher is Jesus. I learn from His experiences. I also learn from my experiences relative to His Word. Finally, I learn from my experiences relative to themselves, but through His interpretation. He brings to mind so many things, "Remember when...."

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger Tammy Nischan Left a note...

Terry,

Great post! I feel that in the past few years God has really been taking me down the road of reading about "other people's experiences" as I have been journeying through a difficult time in my personal life....while I LOVE to write, I have sensed a great need to READ more and more of what others have to say about grief, loss, pain, and suffering as I have walked this road in a very personal way.

I have been a member of your email list for a couple of years. I have completed your phone conference seminar (last summer, I believe). But it is just amazing to me how your name keeps popping up in my life!

Just yesterday a friend of mine who knows about my passion for writing came into my kitchen and handed me the Ashland, KY, newspaper which told about an upcoming conference in Elizabethtown, KY, where you will be the keynote speaker! Wow! I think I'll be coming! I may actually get to shake your hand!!! That would be amazing!

God bless your day and thanks for being such a constant encourager!

Tammy Nischan

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Chatty Kelly Left a note...

I just read this book, and wrote a review at my blog yesterday. It was a great book! I loved it.

 
At 1:38 AM, Blogger Nakabunot Kay Left a note...

It's true that the experiences of other people will be a constant reminder, guide and teacher. This has been my custom essay topic most of the time when it comes to success and lessons learned. No that I am a book report writer, I make sure to take note of the experiences of others as well as my own personal experiences and hopefully, I will be on the road to success.

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Shahidah's Fuchsia Left a note...

You make a very good point. God Bless You for your insight and gifts of telling other people's stories, so that we might learn from experience. (Theirs and our own) :0)

 
At 5:43 AM, Blogger Advantagepapers Left a note...

The Best Teacher is always are those who has good with the students feelings I think that the best teacher in my feeling is that who does know that what the students do needs from him or her to do with there studies.

Custom Essay

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Harding Jamie Left a note...

This is the primary occasion I stopover this blog. Actually this is overwhelming labor with the blog. It is extremely enjoyment to obtain it as I got enormous helps right here. I extremely be grateful for the bloggers workings and will stay for more post from the direction.

 

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