Reading has always had a central and prestigious place in our understanding of how we can develop our minds. The more we read, we’re told, the cleverer we stand to be. We need to read because we can’t do it all by ourselves; the fundamental point of reading is to acquire the good ideas of other people.
In daily life, the people in the vicinity often don’t want to reflect on exactly what concerns us at a given time; a topic we’re curious about might be covered in just a few minutes at the table or dismissed as too complicated even to approach. But when we find a book on the subject we care about but are lonely with, we have evidence of an extraordinary commitment made by a serious stranger, which bolsters our sense of the legitimacy of the thinking challenge we face.
But, while the premodern world directed us to read so little because it was obsessed with a question modernity likes to dodge: “what is the point of reading? ” The modern world is getting obsessed with squeezing millions of data in just a few seconds and dodging the question of reading with: “Why should I waste my time turning pages when I am just one click away to every information? “
Having said that, let’s look at five common reasons why people don’t read books. Most importantly, let’s find a way to overcome these problems. Because maybe you can’t remember the last book you finished. Hopefully, this will help you take a step towards falling in love with reading.
- “I don’t have the TIME to read” – The most common reason, and the most valid. We’re all busy!
- “Is there a movie I can watch instead of reading the book?” – I hear this so much! People just want a simple, easy way to enjoy something. Yes, a movie is quicker and more engaging. Not to mention it includes a gaggle of talented professionals contributing to acting, music, stage design, etc. You don’t get that in a book.
- “Reading is too much work” – If you think reading is work, then congratulations on getting this far in the article!
- “I don’t know what to read!” – There are so many books. Every year, between 600,000 and a million books published in the USA alone. There are so many different genres and authors.
- “I just don’t see the point of reading.” – Some people see nothing to gain. Reading is just something they did in school so they could graduate and get a job; there’s no place for it now. Maybe you don’t enjoy it. Maybe there is no benefit.
Well these reasons/questions can be easily overcome
Firstly we have to drop the famous modern worlds adoption of an Enlightenment mantra, stating that there should be no limit to how much we read because, in answer to the question of why we read, there is only one response that will ever be encompassing and ambitious enough: “we read in order to know everything.”
We are drowning in books, we have no time ever to re-read one and we appear fated to a permanent sense of being under-read when compared with our peers and what the media has declared respectable. Or even worse, following this mantra, we are discouraging ourselves and others around us to pick a book.
In order to get out of this exhaustive approach, we have to sync ourselves with the fact that – ‘Reading is a privilege.‘ Once we start to read the book itself, the benefits to our own train of thought continue. We’re used to imagining that it’s the ideas explicitly stated in the book that will enrich us, but we may not need the full thoughts of another person to start to come to a better sense of what we ourselves believe.
The book frames the topic for us, it puts the right question to us, it functions as the three dots that start a ball rolling… – and we do the rest.
If you take the time to read, it stimulates your creativity. This is a useful skill to have in life and business. Creative people stand out from the crowd and can come up with new solutions and ideas. It’s worth taking the time to read. Screens make you see, while reading makes you think.
Therefore, in order to ease and simplify our lives, we might dare to ask a very old-fashioned question: what am I reading for? And this time, rather than answering ‘in order to know everything,’ we might parcel off a much more limited, focused, and useful goal. We might – for example – decide that while society as a whole may be on a search for total knowledge, all that we really need and want to do is gather knowledge that is going to be useful to us as we lead our own lives.
In addition to this, we might decide on a new mantra to guide our reading henceforth: we want to read in order to learn to be content. Nothing less – and nothing more. The more we understand what reading is for us, the more we can enjoy intimate relationships with a few books only. We are encouraged to start our own brains by evidence of the developed thoughts of another person.
Reading provides us with a superlative occasion on which to unearth and put into focus what we happen to think. It’s through contact with the books of others that we are sometimes best able to come to a clearer sense of our perspectives and ideas. The words of someone else can powerfully draw out our hitherto hesitant and disjointed notions; it is contact with another’s intelligence that may bring our own into new relief.
The truly well-read person isn’t the one who has read a gargantuan number of books, it’s someone who has let themselves be shaped – deeply shaped in their capacity to live and die well – by a very few well-chosen ones.
So don’t wait. Pick up a book today and give it a go. You can do this! I believe in you. No more excuses!