5 Reasons Why Reading Will Change Your Life
Why should I read? Maybe you are driven by statements like the following: 88% of financially successful people read at least 30 mins per day. In my case, it is the feeling of reading that is priceless. When I pick my book at night, I know that I am about to immerse myself in a fantastic detective or space opera book, learn something new to improve myself, or about how to invest, start a company, or about how math explains our world. Any option is good, and it is my moment. Maybe I am lucky, but I doubt it. I think this could apply to anybody. I have the feeling that reading changed my life, and it could change others' as well. Therefore, I would love people to do it more and grow thanks to it. For that reason, I try to give you the five ways reading books can impact your life.
Reading is joyful, beautiful and gets you off from social media
Reading, writing well and thinking well: the best recipe for your future
Reading changes the way you see the world
Reading fosters your imagination and creativity
Reading changes your personal relationships for the better
1. Reading is joyful, beautiful and gets you off from social media
Did you ever get chills after reading one sentence? Did you ever feel like you could not stop reading a book? Or had the urge to reread a page because how incredible was what you just went through? These situations often occur when you read. However, people tend to believe that reading is boring, and they see it as something complicated. It may be true that it needs a bit of effort to start, but I would argue that it all comes down to selecting the right book --or the correct type of books. If you do this, you will put yourself in the position to discover what reading can give you and everything it opens up.
As we will see in a bit, reading allows you to learn, create new ideas, understand the world, and write better, among a thousand other things. However, people --sometimes me included-- forget how beautiful it is to be immersed in a book. That desire to go back home to read more about it. We focused too much on the utility of reading and not on what it provides and how it can improve your mood and make you enjoy your time. In a world where super-powerful algorithms are fighting to keep us in front of the screen, reading paper books might be one fantastic tool that we can use to stop looking at our phones or TV. As Groucho Marx said:
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book - Groucho Marx
2. Reading, writing well and thinking well: the best recipe for your future
I read some time ago a tweet from Paul Graham that said the following:
I immediately went back to one of my blogs on what to do after the Ph.D. and realized that I was trying to do every step I outlined. Coincidence? I doubt it. Picking up the habit of reading during the last five years undoubtedly allowed me to grow this idea of sharing my journey through a blog. And as I wrote more blogs, I found myself writing more. I started to write about things going through my head (my future, life options, ideas, speeches). Essentially, to clarify and understand my life, what I wanted and where I was going.
It does not have to be a blog. You can keep it private or do it as you want. But I am sure that reading is the first door to cross to enter something fantastic. It is one of the first steps that may allow you to understand yourself better and where you want to be. Future is uncertain, nowadays even more so, it is not an easy task to decide what one wants. Therefore, if you have the opportunity, start reading and help yourself. Reading ten pages a day may change how you think about the future.
If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” - Stephen King
3. Reading changes the way you see the world
Reading allows you to learn new things and opens up the possibility of letting these new things impact your life and change the way you see your surroundings. People sometimes get confused and argue that you cannot pretend to be a different person after reading one book. I doubt this is what I mean. It goes more on the lines of realizing things you did not know and trying to apply them to your life to be and do things better. For instance, I read Quiet by Susan Cain. The book helped me know more about myself and introverted people. Reading it helped me be more empathic in the long run and be a better version of myself.
This growing process also helps to learn about particular fields where you would like to expand yourself. Do you want to know more about the world's economy, investing, startups, fitness, how to grow as a person (self-help), history, math, ethics, or any other topic? Pick the best books about it and read them! Make yourself a favor, and do not be confined to your area of expertise. In the words of Harvey S. Firestone:
I notice that when all a man's information is confined to the field in which he is working, the work is never as good as it ought to be. A man has to get a perspective, and he can get it from books or from people — preferably from both. - Harvey S. Firestone
4. Reading fosters your imagination and creativity
When I was 13 years old, my imagination would fly while my dad would tell my sister and me everything he was reading from the last Harry Potter book. More recently, I am sure that Lois McMaster, Patrick Rothfuss, Harlan Coben, and Jo Nesbo, among others, are to blame when my head thinks about alternative worlds and impossible futures. Their books about detectives, adventures, space operas, and science fiction are immense.
In the same way, I doubt that I could think clearly about starting a company some years ago. However, maybe, after taking a bit from Peter Thiel, a bit from Reed Hastings, a bit From Ray Dalio, a bit from Eric Ries, a bit from Benjamin Graham, and a bit from Warren Buffet, then the idea of building a startup that was seen as impossible some years ago now is not so far away. Reading allows you to learn from top people in this world. Some may be incredible writers like the former mentioned ones. Some others will have put down into words their knowledge as the latter ones. Essentially, use both sides and learn from their experience and capabilities to make things that looked impossible a reality. Imagine and create!
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one" - George R.R. Martin
5. Reading changes your personal relationships for the better
Maybe this one is a mixture of the other four. However, I wanted to include it. If you have fun while reading and it makes you feel better, if you let reading make you grow and teach you about new things, if you allow reading to transform into writing and thinking clearly and you let reading expand your imagination, you will realize of the impact in your everyday life with your loved ones. The opportunities in books to discover yourself and understand people better are infinite. Use it wisely!
Finally, in these lines, I once thought that reading the same books as someone you love would put you closer to that person. Thoughts, actions, and feelings are sometimes hidden in the magic of books. This idea in my head proved to be true. Reading a book recommended by my dad or a friend always leads to some discussion and a beautiful talk about it --undoubtedly, one of the best things reading has given me. Bring your close ones closer!
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” - Joseph Addison
But, how do I start?
My advice: Start already! Pick a book that you think that you will enjoy reading. Leave the recommendations of life-changing books and books that will teach you something. Select based on your preferences. Create the habit of reading, explore what you enjoy, and move from there. The process itself will shape your life for the better. There are only positive things that can happen out of this.
Top 5 Books of January-March
The Book of Why. Judea Perl
Triggers. Robert J. Sawyer
Long Shot. Harlan Coben
The Startup Playbook. David S. Kidder
Ringworld. Larry Niven
Thank you for reading the blogs, and feel free to follow me on Twitter if you want to know more about me.
From a friend,