Few things in life will do more to bring about personal success; the fulfillment your dreams, your development as a person, increase your income, bring contentment and all around make your life better, than the reading of good books. Study the lives of successful people throughout history and in the present and you will find that the reading of good books is a common practice.
A good book does far more than just impart needed information to you (however, that alone is worth the time invested in reading). Books can allow you to travel to the ends of the earth and beyond. They can take you to places you will never see with your human eyes and give you the experiences few have ever had. Books make the home bound adventurers, the shy bold and daring, the weak strong and the poor wealthy. Books teach us how to achieve our dreams with practical and useful information. The success-minded person who has discovered the joy of reading has discovered the secret to all knowledge of the past, present and future.
But here are some stats that I find extremely disturbing. These were gathered by the Jenkins Group, a publishing service firm and reported back in 2010. They represent a frightening trend that should sound the alarm for us all.
- 1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
- 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
- 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
- 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
Reading this you may think that this cannot be true, but I assure you it is. Obviously this does not include you for the simple fact that you are reading it. People who do not read tend not to read at all. People who do read, read everything.
Success-minded people who desire to be all they can be, know that they must read. Leaders are readers. No matter what your goals for life are, you will never be the best if you do not read. You will never know more than you know now without learning it first. Simple truth. Knowledge is added on to us it does not multiply on its own. That will not happen if you do not read and learn from others. Mark Twain had it right when he said, “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”
I have heard it a thousand times, “I am just not a reader, and I never have been”. There may be some reason for that, all of which can and should be corrected. Do any of the following ring true for you?
- You have not been reading books that interest you. Studies have shown that children who have been diagnosed with reading disabilities have dramatically improved when given books that interest them.
- You see reading as a punishment. When we are forced to read things that do not catch our interest, we soon see reading as a whole in a bad light.
- You see reading as taking too much time. We are all busy; however, investing a bit of time each day, even 20-30 minutes, in reading things that will improve us will save hours of time muddling through things.
- You think because you are a slow reader you are a bad reader. We all have different types of learning. I am an audio learner. I learn best if I can hear things. I am also a slow reader. If I want to really get things to sink in, I need to read aloud so I hear the words not just see them. On average I read 20-30 books a year. I do not read fast but I do read often.
Another common, although just as weak excuse is, “I can’t afford to buy books.” Books are not an expense they are an investment. I am amazed by people who spend thousands of dollars on a degree that gives them a piece of paper that says they are smart; hundreds of dollars on clothes that make them look smart; but will not spend a few dollars on a book that can actually make them smart.
If you think you cannot afford a book, get a library card; they are free and allow you access to a wealth of books. But if you are like me and tend to write in your books, buy them used, or find a place that sells them for a discount. Get a Kindle or Nook and download books, they are cheaper and you can carry around a whole library in your hand.
Let me encourage you to read often and much. Find a topic you like and start off with one book at a time. You will soon find yourself looking forward to the time you can sit and dive into a good book. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, reading will make you better and open a whole new world of discovery.
Are you a reader? Let others know how you spend your time in books. Your encouragement may be the key to a new life for one of your family and friends. Reading is a very catchy bug and once you contract it, it will never leave your system.
If you are not a reader, take the one-book challenge. Find a book that interests you, could be old or new. Read that book just for fun. Spend about 30 minutes a day. When you are done, see if it leads you to another book, then another.
Like the old potato chip commercial, “Bet you can’t read just one!”
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Brian and Lori Gosur
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