Character Building

Review by Gina Hall

Character Building
Booker T.  Washington

“There is nothing that will strengthen the mind, broaden the vision, enrich the soul, like the reading of good books. One can find or make no better friend than a good book.” – J. C. Penney

If you don’t have time to read a book then a booklet may be just right for you. This is a great, little sixty-two page booklet written by Booker T. Washington. Booker was a former black slave, who founded Tuskegee Institute at 25 years of age. He and his wife were very humble people who could have indulged in his fame and fortune, but instead chose to live a sacrificial life so that they could improve the lives of others.

This booklet is a collection of “Sunday Evening Talks” given by Booker to his students, encouraging them to be men and women of great character. Here are a few things that he has shared with them:

“The Happiest individuals are those who do the most to make others useful and happy. The more you do to make somebody happy, the more happiness will you receive in return.p.15

Make up your minds that you are going to overcome every discouragement, and that you are not going to let any discouragement overcome you.” (Pg. 20)

“The highly educated person, the one who is really cultivated, is gentle and sympathetic to everyone.” (Pg. 25)

“The people that are going to be constantly in demand are those who make the best use of their opportunities, who work unceasingly to become proficient in whatever they attempt to do.” (Pg. 29)

“Each minute of our lives is of supreme value, and we are committing a sin when we allow a single minute to go to waste.” (Pg.31)

“Order your lives that you can form the habit of reading. Set aside a certain amount of time each day, even if it be not more than four or five minutes beyond your normal studies.” (Pg. 38)

“Be regular in all your habits. Have a regular time for studying, for recreation, and for sleeping.” (Pg. 38)

“And last, but far from least, set aside a regular time for thinking, for meditating with yourself. Take yourself up, pick yourself to pieces, see wherein you are weak and need strengthening.” (Pg.38)

“On every side our lives touch those of others; their lives touch ours. Your actions will affect other people in one way or another, and you will be responsible for the result.” (Pg.41)

“Opportunities never come a second time, nor do they wait for our leisure. The years come to us but once, and they come then only to pass swiftly on” P.43

“In the first place, you should be continually on the lookout for opportunities to improve yourselves in your present work.” (Pg.44)

“Feel that you can always learn something from somebody else. It is a mark of intelligence to learn, even from the humblest person.” (Pg.46)

But where I fear for your success is when you come to the performance of the small duties which you think no one else will know about, the things which no one will see you do. It is when you think that no one is going to see you washing the dishes, or getting dirt out of crevices, that I am afraid you are going to fail.” (Pg.51)

“No matter where you are, I want you to find yourselves growing more polite and gentlemanly. Notice I do not say merely that I want your teachers – those who are over you to find you growing more polite. I want YOU to find yourselves so. If you don’t do this, you are going backward; you are going in the wrong direction.”(Pg.57)

This booklet can be purchased through http://www.tremendouslifebooks.com/products.asp?cat=20 for $1.37, or you can get the CD and the book for $9.95. I enjoy listening to the CD after I read the book. Our children also have enjoyed hearing the CD when driving in the car. The more you read the book and listen to the CD, the more these principles will become a part of your life.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Richard Steele


Sign up to receive the latest articles delivered to your inbox as soon as they are posted.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Comments 1

  1. Thanks Gina-
    One of the quotes I just read was exactly what I needed!
    I’m loving your book recommendations.

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.