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If you are one of the non-book readers who feels you “don’t need no stinking books”, here are 20
great reasons to start the habit…before you are left behind!
1. Reading is an active mental process – Unlike TV, books make you to use your brain. By reading, you think more and become smarter.
2. It is a fundamental skill builder - Every good course on the planet has a matching book to go with it. Why? Because books help clarify difficult subjects. Books provide information that goes deeper than just classroom discussion.
3. Improves your vocabulary – Remember in elementary school when you learned how to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get the same benefit from book reading. While reading books, especially challenging ones, you will find yourself exposed to many new words you wouldn’t be otherwise.
4. Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places – What is your favorite vacation spot? I would bet you read a lot about that destination. The more information the better. Books can expand your horizons by letting you see what other cities and countries have to offer before you visit them.
5. Improves concentration and focus – Like I pointed out before, reading books takes brain power. It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, Internet posts or e-Mails that might contain small chunks of information. Books tell the whole story. Since you must concentrate in order to read, like a muscle, you will get better at concentration.
6. Builds self-esteem – By reading more books, you become better informed and more of an expert on the topics you read about. This expertise translates into higher self esteem. Since you are so well read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better.
7. Improves memory – Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.
8. Improves your discipline – Obviously, if 1 in 4 people don’t read one book per year, then there is a discipline issue. There may be many causes for people not reading books such as the “quips” of information you can get on the Internet. TV is also a major distracter. Making time to read is something we all know we should do, but who schedules book reading time every day? Very few… That’s why adding book reading to your daily schedule and sticking to it, improves discipline.
9. Learn anywhere – Books are portable. You can take them almost anywhere. As such, you can learn almost anywhere too.
10. Improves creativity – by reading more books and exposing yourself to new and more complete information, you will also be able to come up with more creative ideas. As a personal example, I read many, many books on IT Networking. So often, when IT Admins are stumped with a problem, I can come up with a creative (smack your head simple) solution that isn’t written anywhere. But the reason I can do that is because I have read so many books on the subject, I can combine lessons from all of them into new solutions.
11. Gives you something to talk about – Have you ever run out of stuff to talk about with your best friend, wife or husband? This can be uncomfortable. It might even make married couples wonder if their marriage is in trouble. However, if you read a lot of books, you’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing are endless.
12. Books are inexpensive entertainment – What’s the average price of a movie ticket these days? $8 – $10? You can buy a paperback for that price and be entertained for many hours more. If you have a used bookstore nearby, you can get them even cheaper.
Tip: Once you make reading a habit, you’ll enjoy reading the books in your chosen career as well.
13. You can learn at your own pace – Where formal education requires time commitments, books have no late-bells or hourly commitments. So you can learn at your own pace when you read books.
14. New mental associations – I touched on this above. As you read more books the depth and breadth of your knowledge expands and your ability to form new associations increases. In reading a book to discover the solution to one problem, you find the solution to others you may not have considered.
15. Improves your reasoning skills – Books for professionals contain arguments for or against the actions within. A book on cooking argues that Chili powder goes well with beef and goes poorly with ice-cream. A book on building a business argues that testing an idea for profitability before setting up is a smart strategy and argues against just barreling forward with the idea without testing.
You too will be able to reason better with the knowledge you gain. Some of the arguments will rub off on you. Others you will argue against. Regardless, you’ll be reasoning better.
16. Builds your expertise – Brian Tracy has said one way to become an expert in your chosen field is to read 100 books on the subject. He also said by continuing the same for 5 years you’ll become an international expert. With the Internet and blogs, you could hone that time down to 2-3 years if you follow through.
17. Saves money – Apart from saving money on entertainment expenses. Reading books that help you develop your skills saves money. Reading books on how someone went bankrupt will be a warning to you against repeating their mistakes. Reading a book on how to build your own backyard deck saves the expense of hiring a contractor.
18. Decreases mistakes – Although I would never suggest putting off an important goal because you fear making mistakes, it is still important to sharpen the saw (link to A.L. post). When you gather the deep and wide wisdom that books can provide, you are less apt to make mistakes.
19. You’ll discover surprises - As you read more books as a source of information, you’ll learn stuff you weren’t looking for. I’ve read many great quotes on life and love by reading books on marketing. I’ve learned facts about biology from reading about chemistry. Heck, I’ve picked up some facts about history while reading about programming. Since so many subjects intertwine it’s almost impossible not to learn something other than the book’s subject.
20. Decreased boredom – One of the rules I have is if I am feeling bored, I will pick up a book and start reading. What I’ve found by sticking to this is that I become interested in the book’s subject and stop being bored. I mean, if you’re bored anyway, you might as well be reading a good book, right?