Why my favorite book is “Green Eggs and Ham”

By Tony Farmer, host, Black Lives Matter Radio Show

I have a vast library, a collection of books that range from fiction to self-help. Books on financial management, autobiographies, poetry, coaching, and culture. The funny thing is that, actually, I’m not particularly eager to read. However, I have a passion for learning. So I read to stay informed, hone my intellect, and have meaningful discussions with others.

I recently saw a video clip featuring Mike Tyson, who described my relationship with my treasured collections. There, and on his Twitter feed, he explains: Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but nonetheless doing it like you love it.”

However, there are three exceptions to this rule. I read it because I love them. They inspire me, energize, and ground me.

  • The first is the Holy Bible. I can spend hours reading the scriptures and creating illustrations in my head about the scenery, the personalities, and God’s presence.
  • The second is comic books. The storylines remind me of a soap opera. The characters are flawed and complex, despite how strong they are or how high they can fly.
  • Finally, there is Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. This classic is my favorite book of all time.

Here’s why: Green Eggs and Ham was first published in 1960 and in the decades since has sold more than 8 million copies. Legend has it that the book came about due to a bet between a publisher Bennett Cerf and the author Theodor Seuss Geisel a.k.a Dr. Seuss. The bet was that Dr. Seuss could not write a book using less than 250 words. Dr. Seuss wrote Green Eggs and Ham using only 50 words.

Recently, I did a little soul searching, trying to figure out why I love this book so much. What is it about those 50 words that have drawn me in and kept me intrigued over the years? This is what intrigues me about this story:

  1. Sam – Sam introduces himself and asks a simple question. Throughout the remainder of the book, Sam’s imagination is on full display. His ability to shift seamlessly through different scenarios stands out and is a testament to his mental agility.
  2. The Mission – Sam is focused, dedicated, and committed. He possesses something that he believes is good and edifying, and he is met with a refusal to try something new and different. Sam is undeterred. This story’s protagonist has no name; this is a key factor because he represents so many—individuals who are risk-averse, stubborn, and stuck in their ways. In fact, at the beginning of the story, he declares that he does not like Sam. He is annoyed at the audacity that Sam would ask him a question at all.
  3. Results – Sam’s perseverance pays off in the end. Not only does that protagonist try the “Green Eggs and Ham,” he discovers that he really likes them. Additionally, Sam has given him ideas on all the places that he can enjoy his meal.

Have you ever found yourself in Sam’s shoes? Have you ever desperately tried to introduce a solution to an impending problem to help those that will be impacted the most — yes, those people refuse to listen? I challenge you to ask yourself, “What would Sam do?”

This is the challenge to ministry. 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word: be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.”

In the spirit of being like Sam, I ask you three questions: Who are you? What is your mission? How committed are you to getting results? The truth may set you free.

God Bless you; I hope this helps you in some way.