Arnold Schwarzenegger: By the Book

The actor, former governor and author of the memoir “Total Recall” says today’s cleaned-up versions of Grimms’ fairy tales are nothing like the horror versions he read as a child.

What book is on your night stand now?
Right now I’m reading a book called “Incognito,” by David Eagleman, about the human brain. I’ve always been interested in psychology, so learning about the things that influence our thinking is really important for me. In bodybuilding, I was known for “psyching” out my opponents with mind tricks. I wish I had this book then because the stuff I was doing was Mickey Mouse compared with what’s in this book.

What was the last truly great book you read?
Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. I absolutely love to hear stories about people who have tremendous vision; and when you talk about vision, Steve Jobs has to be in the conversation. He was such a revolutionary. It is completely inspirational to read about someone who saw the world, imagined something better, and then went out and made his vision a reality.
I got to know Steve when I was governor of California, and he wanted to help pass a law to encourage organ donation. A lot of people have the drive to be successful, but not the same drive to give back once they’ve found success. Steve saw what it was like to desperately need an organ, and he could have easily just paid for his operation and been done with it. Instead, he came with his big vision and wanted to rewrite the laws to make it easier. He did the necessary work, and we were able to hammer out a law and push it through. I think that his compassion should be a bigger part of his legacy. His story is the ultimate California dream.

What is your favorite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?
I prefer nonfiction, especially biographies and history books. You could spend your whole life reading history and you would still have several more lifetimes’ worth of learning to do. I don’t have much time in my schedule to read, so when I have a chance to sit down and get into a book, I want to make sure it is a story of greatness that inspires and teaches.

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
I could never choose one book for a president. There are so many things you need to learn. I would have to say, “Here is a book about Eisenhower building the highway system, so you can read about the vision it takes to build up our country, because we need to build again. Here is a book about how we developed our current energy policy, because we need to learn from that as we plan for our future energy needs.” Then I would give them a kindergarten teacher’s manual and let them know, “You’re going to need this when you deal with Congress.”

If you could meet any writer, dead or alive, who would it be? What would you want to know?
Winston Churchill. He is one of my heroes, and when I look at all of the books he somehow had time to write, it just blows my mind. To be such a vital figure in modern history and at the same time write incredible history . . . I would love to talk to him about how he had time to be great as a leader and as a writer. If there is one person who shows us the power of history, it has to be him.

If you could play any character from literature, who would it be?
One of my favorite characters in history is Cincinnatus, and I’ve read everything I can find about him. I would love to play him in a film about ancient Rome. He was given the keys to the kingdom — pure, absolute power! — and he did the job and then went back to his farm. He didn’t get drunk on the power. He did the job he was asked to do, dealt with the invasion and walked away. That is the purest form of public service I can imagine, and it would be fun to try to capture that character on film.
The United States was lucky to have George Washington as a founding father, because he had that same civic virtue, and of course he had read about and admired Cincinnatus.

Courtesy: The New York Times

Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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