What are you reading?
“The Art Of War, by Sun Tzu. I was joining the Marines, and I was in here for a book on the history of the Marines. I saw The Art Of War, read the back cover, and thought it looked interesting. Now I’m reading through it a second time, picking out certain stanzas.”
What did you like about it?
“I’ve always had the mindset of, ‘Let’s try to think critically before jumping in, get all the information and then choose.’ You can read The Art Of War and use it in your everyday life. There’s a really good stanza that says, ‘You can win one hundred thousand battles, and that is still not as skillful as being able to avoid the battle in the first place.’ A real victory comes without actually having to use guns — by using diplomacy. If you disagree severely with a coworker or a manager at work, instead of getting all anxious inside, calm down and think about the situation, about what benefits both of you. Most people just think, This is what I want; they never take the other person’s side into account.”
But what if war is unavoidable?
“The book says, ‘Know your enemy, know yourself, and you will always be victorious.’ So if you don’t have enough men, don’t even try. But if you do have enough men, place them in the right places. The book says to know Mother Earth’s condition, because she’s always changing, and she’s relentless. Hitler tried to invade Russia, and the ground froze, and his troops weren’t ready for the winter. If your army is in the wrong place — if it gets hit by a hurricane or something — then you’re not winning that war.”
Compare it to other books you’ve read.
“I read a lot of American history. There’s a book by David McCullough called 1776, about our revolution, and it’s really, really good. It’s an in-depth look at how they were just trying to fight the taxes and the way the British were overstepping their boundaries, and they could not come to a conclusion without war. General Washington really didn’t want to be the commander. He was, like, ‘All my guys are untrained, I don’t have any gunpowder, it’s the worst time of the year…’ There were thousands of deserters, people saying, ‘I have to get back to my farm and my family, and my contract is almost up.’ Washington needed his men to rally around an idea, to make them think a certain way. People used the taverns for political talk, and he used them to rally the men around the idea of revolution — ‘We don’t need a mother country. Let’s start our own.’”
What magazines or newspapers do you read?
“I really like Guitar World — I’m a very…intermediate guitar player. I’ll read the articles that teach you techniques. The ones where they’re asking someone, ‘Oh, you have a new album coming out, what’s it about?’ aren’t really interesting.”
Do you talk about reading with your friends?
“With my girlfriend. They usually boil down to, ‘How come you like that?’ She loves the Twilight series, and she made me read the whole thing. I think it gets ridiculous at some points, but the writing is really good, so I usually get into conversations about the writing. I think the author has a way of bringing the characters to life.”
Name: Shane Patrick | Age: 18 | Occupation: Taco Bell employee
Neighborhood: Lakeside | Where interviewed: Borders in El Cajon