Taylor authors new book
Imagine if today’s college students would start their mornings not by looking at celebrity postings on TikTok or Twitter, but instead by reading an inspirational quote from an ancient stoic philosopher or a time-honored African proverb.
Chances are, that bit of morning inspiration would get them going in the right direction.
That idea is encouraged in a new book, authored by Ryan Taylor, 21, Holton, published just in time for students returning to college.
Taylor, who will be a senior at The University of Kansas this fall, took his studies and interests in historical figures and philosophies and compiled them into a book titled “It Do Be Like That Sometimes” – a play on words that college life has its ups and downs.
The quotations are collected from more than 100 great thinkers and doers, ranging from Aristotle to Henry Ford. The book is laid out to one quotation daily, followed by a few paragraphs of Taylor’s own interpretation, aimed directly at contemporary college students in the 18-24 age group.
“The words of these great people apply to everyone’s lives,” Taylor said. “There are a lot of lessons we can draw from them, some going back thousands of years but still applicable today.”
For example, the quotation for July 8 is: “Where the way is hardest, there go thou; follow your own path and let people talk,” is by Italian poet and writer Dante, and Taylor comments, in part: “Just because it is hard does not mean that it is the wrong path for you; it just means that you are going to have to get stronger.”
Even though college students are surrounded by voluminous libraries and ivy-covered halls of learning, nearly all students spend too much of their time following contemporary online posters and influencers, and not paying heed to timeless wisdom found from the writings of great minds of the past, Taylor said.
“No matter who posts it, what you often see on social media is the best of other people’s lives, which is not how they always live,” Taylor said. “You might hear about how college is the best years of your life, but for some, college can be a struggle. Being told how this is the best years of their life can make them feel worse. What these historical figures say in these selected quotations is about how to face this adversity and persevere through.”
Taylor said a couple of events got him interested in reading historical thinkers. During the COVID-19 lockdown, he began reading more as an escape from the events going on outside. He picked up a copy of “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius and found that the messages in this book really spoke to him.
Through his college major and foreign language classes, he said he was introduced to a number of quotes and ideas that stuck with him.
Taylor, a 2019 graduate of Holton High School, said he also drew on the “honest-but-true lessons” he learned from his Holton High School football and golf coaches.
“A lot of students get discouraged, give up and turn their attention to other things that prevent them from advancing through college,” he said. “I was fortunate to be told over and over by my football and golf coaches: work hard, get better every day, set goals and stay focused.”
Taylor wanted to keep the book as a simple read, just one page daily.
“College students already have enough big reading they have to do,” he said. “This is intended to be read one page per day, taking 60 to 90 seconds each.”
Taylor hopes his book, which is 398 pages, hits home with students who are his peers right now.
“I noticed that while there are self-help books out there for college students, there are not very many written by other college students and very few that were in the form of daily single-page style,” he said. “I took this as an opportunity to not only try to help others but also learn more myself about keeping everything from the life of a college student in perspective. I wanted to make something that left the reader with a quick positive thought or feeling to think about for the rest of the day.”
Taylor did all of the book production himself: writing, organizing, paginating, designing the cover art and self-publishing.
“It Do Be Like That Sometimes: A College Student’s Guide To Living Life From Some Of The Wisest People In History” sells on Amazon for $19.99 or can be purchased by emailing Taylor at email@example.com. It is also available at Novel Goods bookstore on the west side of the Holton Square.
Taylor will earn his undergraduate degree from KU this spring with a double major in pre-law psychology and philosophy, and he plans to apply to law schools. He is the son of Matt and Paula Taylor of Holton.
He is the grandson of Mary Lou and the late Jim Birkbeck of Holton and Rudy and Kathy Taylor. Rudy is the longtime editor and publisher of The Montgomery County Chronicle and was inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Ryan’s father, Matt, took his KU journalism degree into the banking industry.
“Both writing and journalism are pretty big thing in my family. I would definitely say that having that literary influence around me helped kick start a book,” Taylor said. “I loved every part of the process of making a book, and I think that the love for every step of writing came from my grandfather’s and dad’s ‘writing bug.’”