Shelf Life returns to hear from another Washington insider about his favorite reads and inspirational books.
This week, Amos Snead, a principal at the public affairs firm Story Partners and one of the minds behind “Famous DC,” a blog covering inside-the-Beltway antics, took some time to answer a few questions.
Q. What’s a book you read as a child that influenced where you are today?
A. My favorite book when I was a kid was “Are You My Mother?” [by P.D. Eastman]. I can remember my mom reading that to me from my early days. I was so happy when that little bird finally found his mommy. She gave me a copy of the book last year when our twins were born.
Q. What’s a book you read in high school or college that influenced you?
A. My high school history teacher in Centre, Ala., Mr. Cernut, told me to buy a copy of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” [by Richard Bach] the summer between my junior and senior year in high school as I was heading to Washington, D.C., for my first internship.
Jonathan drives himself to get better in every facet of his life, and he’s never quite satisfied. And then he meets two wise gulls that teach him how to reach his full potential. I read it at least once a year.
Thank you, Mr. Cernut.
Q. What about a book you’ve read as an adult?
A. I moved to D.C. full-time a little over a decade ago, and when I got here, my friend Walker Moody gave me a copy of “Never Eat Alone” [by Keith Ferrazzi]. Working in a town built on relationships, the book opened my eyes and taught me how to develop and grow a strong network of friends and colleagues.
Q. What book would you recommend to members of Congress or staffers?
A. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Kidding.
If you’re a staff assistant with some time to kill ... I would suggest Jay-Z’s “Decoded.” It is very insightful to track the influences of his rap lyrics. For everyone else, grab a copy of “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and go crush something tomorrow morning.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.