By Bill Doughty
It’s been 18 months since I started Navy Reads, blogging about the Navy Professional Reading Program (NPRP) and commenting about books.
Since April 2009 Navy Reads has had 5,568 visits from 99 countries: Australia to Zimbabwe.
Here are my top ten highlights, so far, doing this blog:
- John Finn and Pearl Harbor Survivors - I met John Finn on Dec. 6, 2009 when he visited his namesake, the John W. Finn, a biodiesel-fueled boat that takes visitors to the USS Arizona Memorial. He told me that in 1941 his favorite author was artist and naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton. Seton’s books and life, especially his dedication to conservation and native American culture, are worth rediscovering, which I did, thanks to my local library. Lt. John Finn, 100-year-old Medal of Honor Navy hero, passed away this year. It was a thrill to share his and other Pearl Harbor survivors' favorite authors.
- New York Times Link to Navy Reads - When the Freakonomics guys mentioned Navy Reads on their New York Times blog, we had 300 hits in a few hours. Leavitt and Dubner thought it was cool that the library on USS Nimitz (CVN 68) features their book, as pointed out by innovative blogger Roxanne Darling.
- Interviewing the Creator of NPRP - The interview with Capt. John Jackson revealed how and why titles were chosen and how the program is evolving. In the words of CNO Adm. Roughead, the NPRP is a “starting point.” Jackson shared other great new suggestions in that interview.
- Comments from Iraq and Afghanistan - Navy readers shared what they’re reading in the sands of South Asia. Perhaps not surprising, they read books like The Kite Runner, Three Cups of Tea and A Thousand Splendid Suns -- books that help us all understand more about history and context.
- 1776 - The review of David McCullough’s great book about the trials faced by Gen. George Washington has had the most hits on Navy Reads. Few authors can breathe life into history like McCullough can.
- Interviewing Presidential Advisor Dr. Betances - Here’s a man who’s larger than life. Meeting and interviewing this presidential advisor, community activist and good human being was a highlight. He shows how reading and diversity are tied to freedom. To free your mind, read.
- April 2009 - I started this blog in March 2009, but the first full month was April; I posted a link to the Hokule‘a blog and their amazing voyage and gave a review of a seminal work of modern philosophy, Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This book should be in everyone’s top-10 bucket list of books to read and may be one of the most important books I’ll review. It’s one I’ve given to a number of friends and colleagues.
- A Woman’s Perspective - A common thread running through Navy Reads is diversity. One of the best Navy Reads posts was by colleague Theresa Donnelly, now a lieutenant at U.S. Pacific Command. She wrote about the Sea Services Leadership Symposium and shared her commentary on Dee Myers’s Why Women Should Rule the World.
- Navy History Hawaii Blog - Another of the proudest moments for me is how Navy Reads helped plant a seed with a colleague, Navy historian Jim Neuman, who subsequently started his own blog, with insights into the history of arguably the most important place in U.S. Navy history -- Pearl Harbor. (That reminds me, I’ve got to return that book Jim loaned me...)
- Father’s Day Perspective - My favorite and most personal post, and a way for everyone to gain perspective on history and world events. It's all about time.
More top ten: The top ten countries and territories checking out this blog are U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Philippines, Brazil, Japan, India, Germany and Djibouti. Others, though, include Tanzania, Peru, Estonia and El Salvador. This blog has connected or reconnected people, helped put books into individual's hands, shared ideas through reading and discovery. Thank you!