Taking a Leap

I love reading. Mostly non-fiction, though I am learning to like fiction more these days thanks to book club. Unfortunately, as much as I love reading, one of the biggest challenges I face is my inability to read quickly. I am possibly one of the world’s slowest readers. Maybe it’s because I like to read each word and paint pictures in my mind? Or maybe I just need to train my brain better.

Anyways, reading slowly was not a challenge I encountered at all for the book I just finished…about 20 minutes ago. Called The Leap Year Project: Learning to Risk & Risking to Learn, this short book by Victor Saad documents a journey – a year-long journey of learning, growing, and taking risks (leaps, if you will). Funnily enough, I stumbled upon The Leap Year Project a few weeks ago via twitter and had exchanged a few tweets with Victor. Then, about a week ago, Story Cartel started following me, and I was introduced to a collection of books that I could read for free! The Leap Year Project was one of them.

Now, let it be known that I love colour. And I love things that are designed purposefully and beautifully. From a purely aesthetic point of view, this book is a work of art. The simplicity and vividness with which this book is laid out made reading this book (via iPad) most wonderful. There wasn’t a whole lot of text (good for slow readers like me), but any text that was there was necessary and thought-provoking.

On to the content. In the book, Victor shares his thoughts and new-found knowledge gained by working alongside new companies and individuals month by month. He ventures near and far, but regardless of location, he continues to be overwhelmed by the generosity of others and the spirit of people. He writes conversationally and his voice flows seamlessly throughout the book. Full of words of wisdom, this is a book that inspires you and compels you to take your own leaps of faith. At the end of every month’s entry is a collection of stories. These stories highlight the experiences of other “leapers” around the world – people who have joined Victor in stepping outside of their comfort zone to learn something new. It shows us that we can affect change, no matter how old, young, or inexperienced, regardless of background, resources, or education.

A book I literally couldn’t put down (I was up until the wee hours last night reading it…until chrome crashed and I was too tired to wait for it to load again), my only wish for this would be to that it included a disproportionately large number of stories of people in Chicago. I would have loved to read more from those around the world (though it makes sense that this gained the most momentum in Chicago, seeing as how that’s where Victor is based).

All in all, this book is fantastic and I recommend it to everyone. Yes, everyone. I give it 5 stars. 10 brownie points. And can I hope the idea goes viral? Maybe I should buy some copies and give them away to people I meet…

Anyways, over the past few weeks I have been pondering what leaps I will be taking in my own #lyproject journey. I am thinking it has something to do with education, but I am not entirely sure yet at this point. The idea still needs some nurturing. Either way, I intend to take a leap, and I hope you will too.

An aside: If you want to read some free books, check out Story Cartel, which I mentioned earlier. The books are literally free for downloading. All you need to do is write a review. And reviews are good for you – they force you to synthesize all the goodness (and some of the other stuff too) that you come across. Seriously…check them out.