The Bookshelf – The Perfect Mile

The Perfect Mile CoverBy Monty Hagler

(Part of a a continuing series on the books that made the journey to our new office.)

Let’s start with the fact that I’m a swimmer, not a runner. I’m not even fond of walking. So many people are surprised to see The Perfect Mile in my office. This book by Neal Bascomb recounts how the English runner Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute-mile barrier at a track meet on May 6, 1954.

While the task at hand was on the athletic field, I’ve drawn multiple lessons from the story of this historic accomplishment:

If you’re stuck, change your routine

Bannister was a great runner for many years, but he and every other runner chasing the 4-minute-mile kept coming up short. Under the guidance and workout routines of a new coach, Bannister adopted different training techniques that allowed him to build up both his stamina and his speed.

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The Bookshelf – Atlas Shrugged

img_5310By Monty Hagler

(Part of a continuing series on the books that made the journey to our new office.)

“Who is John Galt?”

I find that people either immediately know the opening sentence to Atlas Shrugged or have no idea why it would take nearly 1,100 pages to answer that question.

In the summer of 1986, I had plenty of free time for reading. I was lifeguarding and coaching a swim team, and the smart people I knew (like John and David Hood) kept referring to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism philosophy. I dove in, and Atlas Shrugged still sits on my office bookcase 30 years later.

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The Bookshelf – Undaunted Courage

By Monty Hagler

(Part of a continuing series on the books that made the journey to RLF’s new office space)

My father gave me a copy of Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose in 1996. The book focuses on the Lewis & Clark expedition to explore the American West and bring back a weimg_5299alth of knowledge that transformed our country and confirmed the incredible value of Thomas Jefferson’s deal for the Louisiana Purchase.

Ambrose captures how difficult the task was in 1803 as the expedition had to overcome numerous obstacles. Malaria. Leaking canoes. Hostile Indian tribes. Unnavigable rivers. Paralyzing cold. Grizzly bears. Lost supplies. But nothing could stop the small, determined Corp of Discovery. They pushed forward. Took notes on botany, geography, ethnology and zoology. Filled journals with observations on weather, rocks and people. Discovered and described 178 new plants and 122 species and sub-species of animals. Drew maps and recorded the most direct, convenient route across the continent.

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