A man may usually be known by the books he reads as well as by the company he keeps; for there is a companionship of books as well as of men; and one should always live in the best company, whether it be of books or of men.
A good book may be among the best of friends. It is the same today that it always was, and it will never change. It is the most patient and cheerful of companions. It does not turn its back upon us in times of adversity or distress. It always receives us with the same kindness; amusing and instructing us in youth, and comforting and consoling us in age.
Men often discover their affinity to each other by the mutual love they have for a book just as two persons sometimes discover a friend by the admiration which both entertain for a third. There is an old proverb, ‘Love me, love my dog.” But there is more wisdom in this:” Love me, love my book.” The book is a truer and higher bond of union. Men can think, feel, and sympathize with each other through their favorite author. They live in him together, and he in them.
A good book is often the best urn of a life enshrining the best that life could think out; for the world of a man’s life is, for the most part, but the world of his thoughts. Thus the best books are treasuries of good words, the golden thoughts, which, remembered and cherished, become our constant companions and comforters.
Books possess an essence of immortality. They are by far the most lasting products of human effort. Temples and statues decay, but books survive. Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh today as when they first passed through their author’s minds, ages ago. What was then said and thought still speaks to us as vividly as ever from the printed page. The only effect of time has been to sift out the bad products; for nothing in literature can long survive but what is really good.
Books introduce us into the best society; they bring us into the presence of the greatest minds that have ever lived. We hear what they said and did; we see them as if they were really alive; we sympathize with them, enjoy with them, grieve with them; their experience becomes ours, and we feel as if we were in a measure actors with them in the scenes which they describe.
The great and good do not die, even in this world.Embalmed in books, their spirits walk abroad. The book is a living voice. It is an intellect to which on still listens.
It is not difficult to imagine a world short of ambition. It would probably be a kinder world: with out demands, without abrasions, without disappointments. People would have time for reflection. Such work as they did would not be for themselves but for the collectivity. Competition would never enter in. conflict would be eliminated, tension become a thing of the past. The stress of creation would be at an end. Art would no longer be troubling, but purely celebratory in its functions. Longevity would be increased, for fewer people would die of heart attack or stroke caused by tumultuous endeavor. Anxiety would be extinct. Time would stretch on and on, with ambition long departed from the human heart. 一个缺乏抱负的世界将会怎样，这不难想象。或许，这将是一个更为友善的世界：没有渴求，没有磨擦，没有失望。人们将有时间进行反思。他们所从事的工作将不是为了他们自身，而是为了整个集体。竞争永远不会介入;冲突将被消除。人们的紧张关系将成为过往云烟。创造的重压将得以终结。艺术将不再惹人费神，其功能将纯粹为了庆典。人的寿命将会更长，因为由激烈拼争引起的心脏病和中风所导致的死亡将越来越少。焦虑将会消失。时光流逝，抱负却早已远离人心。 Ah, how unrelieved boring life would be! 啊，长此以往人生将变得多么乏味无聊! There is a strong view that holds that success is a myth, and ambition therefore a sham. Does this mean that success does not really exist? That achievement is at bottom empty? That the efforts of men and women are of no significance alongside the force of movements and events now not all success, obviously, is worth esteeming, nor all ambition worth cultivating. Which are and which are not is something one soon enough learns on one’s own. But even the most cynical secretly admit that success exists; that achievement counts for a great deal; and that the true myth is that the actions of men and women are useless. To believe otherwise is to take on a point of view that is likely to be deranging. It is, in its implications, to remove all motives for competence, interest in attainment, and regard for posterity. 有一种盛行的观点认为，成功是一种神话，因此抱负亦属虚幻。这是不是说实际上并不丰在成功?成就本身就是一场空?与诸多运动和事件的力量相比，男男*的努力显得微不足?显然，并非所有的成功都值得景仰，也并非所有的抱负都值得追求。对值得和不值得的选择，一个人自然而然很快就能学会。但即使是最为愤世嫉俗的人暗地里也承认，成功确实存在，成就的意义举足轻重，而把世上男男*的所作所为说成是徒劳无功才是真正的无稽之谈。认为成功不存在的观点很可能造成混乱。这种观点的本意是一笔勾销所有提高能力的动机，求取业绩的兴趣和对子孙后代的关注。 We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or in drift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about. 我们无法选择出生，无法选择父母，无法选择出生的历史时期与国家，或是成长的周遭环境。我们大多数人都无法选择死亡，无法选择死亡的时间或条件。但是在这些无法选择之中，我们的确可以选择自己的生活方式：是勇敢无畏还是胆小怯懦，是光明磊落还是厚颜无耻，是目标坚定还是随波逐流。我们决定生活中哪些至关重要，哪些微不足道。我们决定，用以显示我们自身重要性的，不是我们做了什么，就是我们拒绝做些什么。但是不论世界对我们所做的选择和决定有多么漠不关心，这些选择和决定终究是我们自己做出的。我们决定，我们选择。而当我们决定和选择时，我们的生活便得以形成。最终构筑我们命运的就是抱负之所在。