Why You Need To Start Reading More Books

J.R. Heimbigner

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When was the last time you read a book, cover to cover? Do you remember how long the book was? Or what your favorite part of the book was? Recently, I have been asking more and more people about what they are reading. And a lot of people tell me they haven’t read a book in over a year.

In over a year?!

This shouldn’t be encouraging for someone who wants to write books. Oddly enough, as I talked more with these folks there were a few reasons why they haven’t read any books:

  1. “I was burned out from college.”
  2. “There isn’t anything out there that interests me.”
  3. “I don’t see a point to reading with all the information in the internet.”
  4. “There is no time to read in my life.”

These are the main answers I have received about why people are not reading books. And to be honest with you, that seems insane. These are all just weak answers.

Burned out from college? Of the hundreds of thousands of books published each year, nothing is interesting? The internet is your only source of reading and information? And, no time?

What?!

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Last year, I had a goal to read 18 books in a year. And I did it. This year, I have a goal to read 24 books in a year. And so far, I am on track. Here is my disclaimer upfront: I read through three types of book mediums: traditional print books, digital books, and audiobooks.

This is how I read so many books. And get this, the majority of the books I read in a year are print. You would think it is audiobook or digital, but the print is where I tend to read a ton.

Benefits of the Print Book

Print books are easier on your eyes. You can reference different parts of the books easier. Studies are showing that people retain more information from print books because our memories are connected to our senses. And it is easier to lend to others.

Benefits of the eBook

I like eBooks because you can get them immediately to your eReader, phone, or tablet. You can have multiple eBooks with you at any given time. It is like carrying around a library without the weight. And you can read them standing in line at the coffee shop or the grocery store.

Benefits of Audiobooks

I believe Audiobooks were made for working out, commuting, and going for walks. These are the three times I listen to audiobooks. Mostly, when I am commuting to and from work because I feel it is such a wasted time otherwise.

Whatever the case is, each medium for books has its advantages. And I would say it is personal preference, accept each medium gives us the ability to read more if we leverage them.

How Reading Change Our Lives

Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year. Many of our nation's presidents were readers. Abraham Lincoln was self-educated due to his reading habits. People like Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and Lebron James all read copious amounts of books every year.

Each one of these people has shared at some point how reading has changed their lives and made them better at life and work. And I have found this to be true too.

Reading does seven things for me:

  1. Invokes Creativity: When I read fiction, I notice my ability to think outside the box and have creative answers to problems increases. It also helps me transform my writing.
  2. Reduces Stress Levels: When I listen to an Audiobook on my way home from work, it helps me reduce my stress levels and sets me up for a successful evening at home.
  3. Increases My Knowledge: Reading makes me smarter and helps me gather more wisdom for my life. This gives me a better sense of self and helps me help others.
  4. Elevates Entertainment: You know how they say “the book is better than the movie.” This is almost always true because you get more out of the characters in books. And you feel more connected to the books and stories.
  5. Helps with Brain Health: I am finding when I read, I have improved memory, can think more quickly, and problem solves better. Even when I read fiction, it helps my brain.
  6. Improved Focus: Focus can be so much about exercising your ability to do so. When you sit down and read, it is like exercising your “focus muscles.” When I am reading, I tend to focus better at work and at home.
  7. Tunes Your Emotions: I have found that reading has helped me understand, express, and relate better to emotions in myself and others. As we read fiction, we are pulled into the emotions of the characters and it helps us identify our own better.

All in all, these seven things help me become a better man for my wife, my daughters, myself, my job, and for the other relationships around me. Reading opens me up to be more self-aware, and to increase my knowledge and wisdom.

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