“Read 500 pages…every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”— Warren Buffett
“I don’t have time to read.”
You wouldn’t believe how often I hear this. People say it defensively, but also preemptively. I don’t say anything to them about reading. They announce it when they lay eyes on whatever book is in my hand or on my desk.
The person will continue to fulminate on how busy they are and how there is no possible way to fit reading into their packed calendar. Of course, this often comes immediately after they have just spent a great deal of time raving about the latest tv shows they’ve been bingeing.
The odds are very high that I haven’t seen the show I’m being told about. Most nights, instead of watching every new show, I crack open a book. I’m not a monk — I love watching great TV and films, but I also appreciate the value of reading books.
The benefits of reading are numerous: “Reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. It can reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer. Reading also allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships.”
As an avid reader, reviewer, collector, and author of books, I’ve put together some random thoughts on reading books:
- If you want to make reading a habit, plan it or even schedule it, just as you do the other things that you prioritize
- Turn off Netflix thirty minutes early and read in bed — a book light is affordable and has a huge ROI
- If you’ve been out of the habit of reading for a while, you may notice that your thoughts will immediately begin to drift; you’ll want to reach for your phone or get something to eat — anything to put the book down. If you can push through that initial feeling, you’ll feel yourself pulled into the words and your thoughts will focus on what you’re reading
- Reading books increases your attention span; reading the internet decreases it
- The more you read, connections will snap into place in your head like puzzle pieces
- I’ve written about how being an active reader — highlighting, folding pages, taking notes — engages you more with the material and allows you to have a dialogue with the author (I only do this for nonfiction)
- Personally, I prefer physical books, especially at the beach when I don’t have to worry about screen glare or sand getting into the device, but a Kindle is better than nothing
- Audiobooks are great supplemental reading, but shouldn’t replace actually reading
- Your brain is like a muscle — when you use it and push it to its limits, you’ll notice that it will get stronger, just like lifting weights
- Having trouble keeping up the momentum? Start a reading calendar; just like with creating, exercising, or saving money, you’ll want to keep the streak going and not break the chain
- With that said, don’t hesitate to quit a bad or boring book. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable and, ideally, illuminating. A good rule is 100 pages minus your age — when you get to that page, feel free to discard a book even if you’ve been waiting years to read it
- The airplane is a great place to read; skip the WiF and another mediocre movie on a tiny screen and pull out a book — it’s almost as quiet as a library
- Prepare to be interrupted often, whether its housework or children or a myriad other disturbances of daily life
- Develop the ability to read anywhere, and in short stints. As Stephen King writes in On Writing: “The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows”
- While there can be great benefit to reading multiple books on a single topic (Ryan Holiday calls it the “swarm strategy”), I also like to follow a large or challenging work of nonfiction with a novel as a palate cleanser
- If you’re surfing the internet all day, people think you’re working; if you’re reading a book, people think you’re loafing. Oftentimes the opposite is actually true
- Finally, as John Rohn says, “Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary”
So turn off the remote, grab a book, and dive in. It has the power to change your life.
Christopher Pierznik is the worst-selling author of nine books. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, Fatherly, Hip Hop Golden Age, and many more. Find more of his writing at Medium and connect on Facebook. Please feel free to get in touch at CPierznik99@gmail.com.
2 replies on “Random Thoughts on Reading Books”
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