Stephen King said: “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” And you know—it’s true. There’s nothing quite like slipping under a warm blanket and losing yourself in a forest of pages; nothing like settling in and inhaling the faint musty smell of timeless thought.
All too often, though, the magic of reading is pushed aside. We get caught up in all sorts of other things, and instead of making time to open a book, we make excuses. Mary McLeod Bethune said that “The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read”, and I wonder if perhaps—by neglecting books, we may be closing that door.
Why You Should be Reading More Books
1: Reading exposes you to new ideas
Your creativity can’t run without fuel, and without exposure to new experiences and ideas, your well will be sucked dry. And while it’s true we’re constantly being bombarded with new ideas, it’s rare we take the time to actually delve deep and explore them.
2: Reading improves your concentration
We are so easily distracted. It’s not uncommon to be scrolling through an article and feel the sudden urge to check Facebook. Maybe it’s already happened to you. But part of the magic of reading is in deep concentration. Studies show that reading paper books not only increases your focus, but your ability to retain information.
3: Reading expands your knowledge base
It’s simple, really: “The more you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” –Dr. Seuss
Influential people are always learning. If you want to have the kind of impact you dream of, it’s time to push the limits of your knowledge.
4: Reading equips you to be a better leader
If you want to change the world, chances are, you’re going to need to lead something. Whether you’re creating a movement or simply pointing others in the direction of truth, reading, by increasing your knowledge, will give you the tools you need to become a stronger leader.
5: Reading helps you learn to communicate better
Learning to be a great communicator is one of the most important things you can do if you want your voice to be heard. Reading—especially fiction and biographies—helps us understand and connect with the emotions and experiences of others, which in turn helps us to better relate to and communicate with them.
6: Reading promotes critical thinking and imagination
We often think logic and art (read: imagination) are at war with one another, but the truth is, they belong hand-in-hand. Learning to think critically and logically will improve your ability to create wonderful art, and what better way to dive into both worlds than through books?
7: Reading challenges you to break out of your comfort zone
8: Reading is fun
I’m not going to discount pleasure as a reason to read more books. It simply wouldn’t be fair. Reading is one of the most exciting pastimes ever—one many people seem to have forgotten. The thrill of adventure and the excitement of uncovering new ideas is one of the best gifts books have to offer.
When was the last time you finished a book? Perhaps it’s been awhile, or perhaps you’re a voracious reader who’s searching for something new and exciting. Whichever the case, I want to challenge you to be intentional about carving out time to read this week. Start small. Set aside half an hour and dive in. You won’t regret it.
- What benefits have you experienced from reading?
- What are your top three favorite books of all time and why?
- What books are on your reading list for 2016? (Find mine here.)