Harley-Davidson’s Matt Levatich Has a Soft Spot for Reading

March 17, 2017

In celebration of National Reading Month, we asked local leaders about their reading experiences. Matt Levatich serves as President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc., and will serve as a United Way Campaign Co-chair in 2017.

Why is reading and learning to read so important?

Besides the obvious practical value, reading is a gateway to learning and exploring that has a uniquely singular, immersive quality.

Describe your relationship with reading and books.

I wish I read more as a child. My mom read to me regularly and I have fond memories of those stories and times. My wife and I shared the passion, importance and commitment of reading with our own children, and my fondest memories of reading are of reading to them (and then with them) each and every night before bed.

What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite childhood book was My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. I still have vivid imagery in my head from that book. It was a book read to me by my mom, and I sought it out as a parent to be able to read it to my sons as they were transitioning into reading on their own.

What’s the last great book you read?

A great book I read recently was All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. Again, the author created such vivid imagery; it’s as if I was watching a movie. Wonderful.

Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine?

I do not generally have fictional heroes. Rather, I admire real people who made a real impact in tough circumstances.

Who is your favorite antihero or villain?

I suppose I’d rather not think there are real villains, so I’m more open to embracing fictional villains. In The Stand by Stephen King, (I read it when I was 13 or so) he did such a great job of character development. It was a story of good versus evil and his character development of evil people, and ultimately the devil character, was outstanding to me at the time. I’d like to read that book again as an adult.

Is there a particular story you heard in your childhood that still sticks with you today?

The Boy Who Cried Wolf sticks out in my mind as an early life lesson.

Who would you want to write your life story?

I’d like to write my life story! I guess in a way, I am doing so each and every day…!


Volunteer and help kids learn to read! Sign up to be a Reading Buddy, help students pick out books at My Very Own Library, or host a book drive for United Way agencies with your family or work group. Contact Lori Hayes at lhayes@unitedwaygmwc.org for more information.

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