Books are awesome. They do all sorts of good things for people (not the least of which is longer life). Most of us have no problem admitting that books are great and reading is a beneficial thing, at least to some degree. Some people don’t read, which is fine, though they’re definitely missing out. Some people devour fiction because it’s fun, though seemingly more and more people turn to Netflix for escapism. Many treat reading as a purely pragmatic exercise, hoping to glean helpful information for work and life. Those things are all good, but consider this a quick encouragement not to read for any explicit or immediate benefit, but to read for the sake of reading. A couple of notes:
- Read things that you’re interested in and enjoy. A wide variety of books and topics is not bad, in fact, it’s better. Read novels, read history, read self-help, read stories and studies and theories and thought experiments. If you start reading something that interests you, your interests will likely broaden.
- Don’t read for escapism (only). By all means, read novels, read lots of them, delving into another world is one of the greatest gifts of literature. But don’t limit yourself to novels and don’t only read to escape reality. Occasionally pick up something that challenges you, delve into something that will stretch you.
- Don’t read pragmatically (only). Books are pragmatic, you won’t be able to help but pick up practical tips and helpful things that will change the way you think about and accomplish things. But don’t avoid a book that interests you because you don’t see how it could immediately benefit your life or work. A good book will impact you in ways you’ll never suspect, and may not even realize.
- Read because you’re curious. As you read your curiosity will grow, you’ll probably find it’s impossible to satiate, you’ll probably end up with more books than you’ll ever be able to read, but you’ll be so happy to have learned and stretched and changed because of the books you’ve read. I have never encountered a person who regretted their reading habit. So pick up a book, and read for the sake of reading.
What’s you’re top book suggestion right now?
Matt, great question. My favorite book I’ve read this year is ‘Range’ by David Epstein. He talks about the fallacy of hyper-focus, 10,000-hour type thinking and the great benefits of having a diverse range of experiences, interests, hobbies, and inputs. One of the more helpful, motivating, and inspiring books I’ve read.