Get reading to get new information, to move your perspective from your own narrow view to something much bigger. Reading gives you knowledge, if you can retain what you read, and if you read things worth retaining. Knowledge is power, remember?
Read to learn. Read to enjoy. Read to see the world. Read to look beyond the constraints of your time and culture, your personality and upbringing, your experiences and emotions. Read to experience other times and cultures, other personalities and upbringings, other experiences and emotions.
Read to know the human condition beyond your own particular bit of it. Read to understand the people you argue with. Read to learn empathy. Read to see the world when you can’t get up and go travel it. Read to understand a bit more of the world before you do get up and go travel it.
Read to gain facts. Read to gain perspective. Read to gain insight. Read to gain beauty, and lyricism, and moments of pure aha! that will change the way you see everything around you.
Read for stories. Read for education. Read for yourself. Read for your children. Read to make yourself ready for success, able to reach success, able to define your own success, and able to put all the knowledge you gain into that success.
Read books, mostly.
Books, as opposed to papers, magazines, and articles (in print or digital form). Books, as opposed to blogs or news sites or text messages or status updates.
Books can hold big ideas. Books can tell bigger stories.
When you read only in bits and pieces, you think in smaller terms.
Read little things, too, sure. Read your blogs and your articles and your papers and your magazines. But for the real advantages that reading can give you, you need to read books.
Also: read fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose.
How to read
You read different things in different ways, or at least you should.
Fiction: dive right in and give it a good 50 pages. If it doesn’t grip you, give it up. Start on the next book. There are so many great books, you don’t need to waste time on the mediocre ones.
Nonfiction: use the end papers – the introduction, table of contents, chapter headings, summaries, glossaries, appendices. Get to know what’s in the book instead of just diving right in. Pick and choose. Dance your way through. Take notes. Make marks in the margin, or highlight or annotate or otherwise claim what you’re reading, note it down, clip it. Read what interests you. Read what you want to learn. Don’t feel like you have to read it all, page one to page done. Skip around, get out what matters, and call it complete.
When to read
Use your free time. You have some (probably more than you think), you’re just using it on other endeavors. Quit ordering movies on Netflix, and read a book instead.
- Read for ten minutes at a time, or five.
- Read in bed for fifteen minutes or for five pages, whichever comes first, before you go to sleep.
- Read in the morning over your coffee or tea.
- Read while you’re on the train or on the bus or in the passenger seat of the car.
- Read on your lunch break.
- Read on the park bench.
- Read on the exercise bike.
- Read while you’re waiting: for the doctor, for the dentist, for the game to start, for the game to end, for the meeting to begin, for the kid to come out of music lessons.
- Read on the weekends, in between the other stuff that fills up your weekends.
- Read instead of watching a movie. Read instead of checking Facebook. Read a book instead of reading more of this blog (really).
Find five minutes here and there and give it to reading. The more time you give, the more you will want to give. And the more you will be rewarded.