On West Sunset Drive, in front of First Christian Church, is one of those reader-board signs you often see in front of houses of worship. On Tuesday, that sign said, “Aspire to inspire before you expire.”
That is a quote attributed to Eugene Bell Jr., author of the book, “What are you Waiting For? 11 Action Steps to Giving Yourself the Green Light in Life.” It is one of those books like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, which can focus the reader’s thinking on the things in life that are better rather than the things in life that are terrible.
I must admit that I practice a profession that often focuses on the things in life that are terrible. We journalists write about accidents and wars and political battles, crimes and corruption, under the assumption that folks like to read about those parades of awfuls.
It’s surprising, though, that most of the best-selling books through the ages have been inspirational in one way or another. Their authors apparently aspired to inspire before expiring.
Top seller of all time worldwide is the Bible, most sources say, with sales estimated at more than 6 billion.
“Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung” and the Koran each have sold about 800 million over time.
“The Book of Mormon” has sold about 140 million copies.
Other inspirational books include:
- “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill (70 million copies).
- “The Purpose-driven Life,” by the Rev. Rick Warren (30 million).
- “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Stephen R. Covey (25 million).
- “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne (19 million).
Carnegie’s book sold well, too, and continues to do so, having sold some 15 million copies.
“The Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown has sold well, and although it has its share of blood and gore, it also is a book steeped in spirituality and moral questioning (80 million).
Do you aspire to inspire before you expire? Just thinking about that question can ... uh ... make you think.