When I was in high school, which seems a long time ago now I would get a reading card that required my parents to sign how many pages I had read a day. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy reading at that age and I would just lie and say I read x amount of pages each day. Books never really interested me and I thought it would take too long to read with little value.
Books help you learn
Forward 6 years later and I found out that I loved reading non-fiction books especially biographies and personal development books. I was learning a lot and could not put those books down.
One particular book I remember reading was a book by Mohnish Pabrai called the “ The Dhandho Investor” a great book about how you can actually achieve success without taking much risk. In essence, the book is “Heads, I win! Tails, I don′t lose that much!” It is a great book for those interested in value investing.
Above is just an example of one book, but there are a tonne of books I have learnt from over the years. For me, you learn from non-fiction books as they illustrate other people’s mistakes and also help communicate concepts and ideas.
Some of the most successful people today and in history have been avid readers. Warren Buffett once the richest man in the World and the greatest investor of all time has said that he spends 80% of his day reading. When asked his secret to his success he said “ Read 500 pages like this 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. “ Even Bill Gates is said to read a lot and is a seeker of knowledge.
Not all communication is verbal, I learnt this the hard way at school when I struggled to write essays.
I think we truly are living in the age of communication through social media and if you notice being a great writer is in important for your own brand or for the company you work for. Your ability to express yourself clearly and concisely is so important in a world where we are getting tonnes of information from all directions.
With that backdrop, reading books such as fiction books will only help you become a better creative writer. Think of this way, you are always learning from experts. In the domain of writing, authors are one of those experts, especially highly regarded authors and you can learn a lot about writing techniques from them.
I found that when I started to read my non-fiction books my writing abilities and the more I read was positively correlated. It was helping me structure my thoughts and ideas better on paper and also improving my vocabulary.
“ Avalanche “ – this word brings back a horror story for me when I was applying for a school at 11. I was been asked to answer some questions based on a passage of text. The story was about an aeroplane flying over an Avalanche. I due to my lack of reading had never come across how to spell “ Avalanche” and mistook it for the air hostess of the plane. I guess as they say the rest was history and as you would have guessed I did not get accepted into the school.
My lesson from this experience was that reading not only helps you learn but increases your vocabulary or in simple terms your ability to communicate your thoughts and points more clearly. A lot of the time one word can capture a few words and provides a more elegant piece of writing that is enjoyable to read.
Reading Multi- disciplinary Books
Read a large variety of books from different subjects is going to give you quite an open mind and also allow you to think outside the box. The more you are exposed to the more you learn and you can take concepts from one discipline and apply it to another.
A focus on just one area will make you narrow-minded and frankly also quite dull. Haven’t you always found that the most interesting people are ones who can speak on a range of topics.
I personally like reading about Personal development, Spirituality, Biographies and History. Share below your comments on what you like to read. Would love to know your thoughts!
So as mentioned earlier reading is not going away and if anything we are given more and more to read now that we are all connected to the Internet through our mobile devices. So how do you get to read more? There are some great Apps out there that you can save articles you would like to read or want to keep in your memory bank, such as Evernote.
A consistent habit of reading will increase your reading speed especially if you read a wide range of books as your brain can then process information better when you read a book outside of your domain
Read the right books
I hope I have convinced you that reading does, in fact, make you smarter and add value to your life, but it is important to read the right material. As the famous phrase goes ‘ Garbage in, Garbage out’ so it’s important you try and avoid reading junk.
Make a plan
I have made it my goal this year to read a book a week. I am trying to keep to this hard goal, but I am getting there. It is important you do keep a track of the books you are reading and make a plan of action otherwise you probably won’t read that much. Another great app I use is Good Reads where you can track books you want to read, have read and on your wish list.