Friday, July 11, 2014

Trust In Books, If Nothing Else

Americans seem to have lost faith in most institutions, including the president, Congress, the media, and big business, but one area that people seem to believe in is books.

According to a recent poll, Barack Obama was ranked as the worst president in 70 years, though it’s hard to believe a criminal that resigned in disgrace from the White House (Nixon), a president who escalated debt with bad tax policies, started two wars, and created The Great Recessions (Bush Jr.), or a man who presided over double-digit inflation and a hostage crisis (Carter) didn’t rank worse. People just don’t believe in the office of the president as another survey on confidence in our institutions shows only 29% believe in the ability of any president to make a difference.

That same poll showed Congress had the least support, as only 7% believe in it.

Book publishing wasn’t a choice to be rated, but its cousin, the media, was low on the list. Only 22% had a lot of confidence in newspapers, while 19% believed in online news and 18% believed in TV news. Public schools and banks shared an equal lack of support, as only 26% believe either institution can do well.

Are people too harsh and pessimistic or is America truly in an across-the-board decline? Perhaps both are true. Things aren’t as bad as people perceive them but they are not as good as they can be.

Can books save us?

I always believe that the availability of shared knowledge, via books, will keep our nation vibrant. But the catch here is that people need to read more books and to read books that shape policy, improve our lives, enlighten us, and make the world run smoother. Reading a YA novel is fine, but we need an expansion into literacy for the civic minded. More people need to care and to see themselves as part of the problem—and solution.

Ideas and resources are out there. We can already solve some of our problems—as a society, and individually—if we just took the time to read the right books and then to take uniform, organized action to bring about reforms and changes.

It won’t be easy but I’d love to see a return to 1960s thinking, where people explored ideas, challenged the status quo, and looked to revolutionize life. We need to step away from our smart phones, streaming videos, and music downloads and read books that mean something.

Otherwise, we just drift without an anchor, left to complain that we believe in nothing or anyone, that the world is declining and that we act as if we have no role or say in these matters.

Sit down and read—then stand up for what’s right!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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