I have been reading a lot more lately. I’m trying to read a book every week or two.
I never thought that I would be a book worm. I actually remember lamenting the reading assignments throughout my entire formal education.
How did I get into this new habit?
I am an avid listener of podcasts. I love hearing new information and getting insights from them.
I realized I was hearing some of the same examples or experiments by the guests or hosts of some of my favorite shows.
I thought those people were brilliant from the insights they would share based on the examples.
It turns out that there is a handful of books from which many of these examples came. The guests or hosts were just reading and sharing their thoughts on the topic.
That took away some of the mystic about the information that I was learning from podcasts (and many blogs).
It means the information is there for anyone that will put in the time to read.
Here are some of the benefits of reading:
- Improves vocabulary and verbal intelligence (links to PDF). You will see more words outside your vocabulary. And, those words will be linked to facts or stories in your mind.
- Improves analytical thinking and problem-solving. Reading forces you to engage your mind in abstract thinking, and drives your imagination to create an alternate world.
- Improves writing skills. You will be exposed to writing structures, phrases, constructs, etc. that you can integrate into your writing. It does help to read great writers or at least ones that have more experience writing than you.
- Improves emotional intelligence, especially when you read fiction. The NY Times mentions the reading fiction can help improve your ability to recognize social cues and customs.
- Reduces stress. I like to read a fiction book at the end of a particularly busy day. It distracts my mind from the things that were stressing me and puts my mind on another plane. The fiction engages some other part of my brain so the problem-solving part of the mind can rest.
- Increases knowledge. Reading is one of the fastest ways to learn and assimilate new information and skills.
If you need more convincing, here is an excerpt from the Harvard Business Review:
Note how many business titans are or have been avid readers. According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an “inexhaustible interest” in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets “the original systems thinkers,” quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week. And history is littered not only with great leaders who were avid readers and writers (remember, Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace), but with business leaders who believed that deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.
Do you read on a regular basis? What do you read?
Let me know in the comments below.
- What Reading Does for the Mind – Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich
- lifedev.net – 8 Benefits of Reading (or Ways Reading Makes You Better at Life)
- Popular Science – SCIENCE CONFIRMS THE OBVIOUS: LITERATURE IS GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN
- WriteToDone – How to Use Reading to Become a Better Writer
- Stanford Report – This is your brain on Jane Austen, and Stanford researchers are taking notes
- Harvard Business Review – For Those Who Want to Lead, Read