What moves you most in a work of literature?
A compelling story. I love storytelling and adventure. I am always looking for how characters, whether in fiction or nonfiction, meet their moment. The Harry Potter series is a favorite! When I first started seeing adults and children alike wrapped around the block to buy this series, I had to get in on the experience.
Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid?
I especially enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies, but I welcome all of the genres.
How do you organize your books?
By size: small ones with small ones, big ones with big ones. I’m almost out of room.
What book might people be surprised to find on your shelves?
“All You Need to Know About the Music Business,” by Donald S. Passman. Music has become an important outlet for me after my basketball playing days. I eventually made up my mind that I wanted to create a label and begin putting out music for the world to hear. Being creative is wonderful, but you have to combine creativity with the correct business knowledge. So, I became a student of the music business and this book was recommended.
How have your reading tastes changed over time?
In the beginning, I read a lot of fiction, mostly adventure novels. Then, I got into the motivational/self-help genre. Now, I find myself reading more autobiography and history looking to understand the past and its role in the present.
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
“Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass” offers a perspective in U.S. history that is rarely discussed. I believe all of us should read it. It is a dark part of the past, but I think it’s necessary to understand that time on a deeper level so that we know the full history of the United States of America. Knowledge is important to have as a leader.
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
James Baldwin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Barack Obama. I would host them at my home because Texas is lovely in the spring. I would definitely get the best chef I could find. The common thread between these three writers would be the experience of Black males in America, from the civil rights movement, where people fought for the right to vote, to the election of the first Black president. I would listen to the things that they feel are important from their experiences in life and leadership. I would soak in as much information as I could about what it takes to be a great leader.
What do you plan to read next?
“Notes of a Native Son,” by James Baldwin. James Baldwin was such an eloquent voice. He was able to make his ideas sing, and echo, during very tense times. I knew I needed to do more research into him as well as his literary works.