The Power of Book Giving

Books can change the world. I believe they have the potential to end wars, cure diseases, improve the economy, and give people the education they never thought they would have. But books aren’t unlimited— they require materials that use up our natural resources. It is for that reason that buying used books, borrowing books, and lending books come into play. Indeed, not only do we conserve more materials, but we also have an opportunity to create a connection with those we borrow books from or lend books to. We’ll call these two actions book giving. Book giving is what allowed me to create a connection with someone I never expected. 

 A few weeks ago, while I was helping my dad move objects from one room to another in one of his client’s houses, I came across a few books on his nightstand that piqued my interest. Not one to be afraid to talk to strangers, I asked him what he thought about the books on the nightstand and if he enjoyed reading them. He told me he hasn’t had the chance to read them. While I knew he was lying because he could simply create time to read, I proceeded to ask him another question about what his favorite books were. His face lit up as he began to talk about his favorite books. He loved talking about them so much that he lent me a copy of one of his favorite books, and told me that he is more than willing to lend me more after I finish the first one. I left his house with a great smile learning how amazing borrowing books and lending books can be.

Book giving is more than just giving books to others. Besides money, it’s the best way to gain mutual trust. Books are typically not too expensive so they don’t arouse insecurity when others ask to borrow them, and they show that people are genuinely interested in what you’re interested in. I wouldn’t even consider it a stretch that book giving can turn your enemies into your friends. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin explained how he dealt with a rival legislator’s animosity:

 “Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return’d it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.”

After seeing how powerful book giving can be, I’m more eager to ask others when the opportunity arises, and I think everyone should do so as well. Libraries are a great way to borrow books that interest you, but it doesn’t create the same effect as with book giving. So when you have the opportunity to borrow a book from someone that piques your interest, I suggest you seize that opportunity, and if they decline your offer, take it at face value. Who knows, they might refer you to someone else, and it might lead to a better opportunity that could change your life.