June 27, 2010

Aspire by Kevin Hall

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about how people don't know how to write or communicate anymore because of the increase in technology that does it for us. Emails, text messages, and smart phones make the need for people to learn how to write and communicate almost nonexistent. Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words reminded me why I loved being an English major and that I really like words and what words stand for. But this book has nothing to do with being an English major.

Aspire is a non-fiction book that is broken up into eleven different chapters that each focus on a different word (well words really) and how practicing that word can really change your life for the better. Words that we all hear and know like passion, humility, and inspire. And words that we don't all know well like ollin and sapere vedere. Each chapter includes some sort of story or anecdotewhere Hall explains how he learned the true meaning of each of these words.

There were a lot of things that I really liked about this book, but there were two things that I absolutely loved. Each chapter, along with a poignant anecdote, also included a true linguistic explanation of each word (e.g., inspire comes from the Latin "inspirare," and "spirare" means to breathe. So inspire literally means to breathe into). The linguistic explanations were fascinating to me and really tied into Hall's explanations of each word. And the second part I loved was Hall's "journal thoughts" about each word at the end of each chapter. It allowed me more of an insight into the mind of the author as he thought through each word and the true meaning behind it.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and finished it with a newly gained knowledge and appreciation for words and even more than that, for becoming a better person. All of the words that Hall focuses on are characteristics of the people I admire the most - empathy, humility, coach - and characteristics that I think we all can use some work on. 5 stars.

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