Here’s the sixth of 12 ads from the 1982 “Power of the Printed Word” ad campaign by International Paper Company. I’m offering the series as an inspiration to your staff, co-workers – and you – to communicate more effectively and understand the benefits of doing so – not just at work but in life.

Enjoy.

Sixth in the series:  “How to enjoy the classics” by Steve Allen

“Youth is wasted on the young.” This quip generally is attributed to Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, who shared our space from 1856 until 1950. It’s true in many instances and beautifully demonstrated by kids who squander the opportunity to broaden their perspectives and mature by reading classic literature. I was one of those kids. Why, I wonder. Was it because I didn’t want to do the work to appreciate the allegories to be discovered there on the pages? Was it because I stopped at reading the words rather than making the effort to read into them to find those additional, deeper meanings? For example, Steve Allen, the author of this installment of “Power of the Printed Word,” and I both bristled at reading Moby Dick as kids. I’m happy to report we both reread it as adults, and I can say for my part I found it enjoyable and enlightening. (By the way, it’s about a whale. Who knew?)

Allen acknowledges the challenges of reading the classics but makes a compelling case it’s a worthwhile investment. The classics are a window into the development of humankind, they present a bigger world than the one you’re in and they offer life lessons for you to adopt or reject. That’s information especially important to a kid – and not useless to an adult, either.

Pull quote: “Someone has said the classics are the diary of man. Open up the diary. Read about yourself – and understand yourself.”