Reading is something I’ve enjoyed as a child and I’m thankful to my mum for that. She has ingrained in me the fine pleasure of reading and has always been very supportive of my reading endeavours. I remember how we were at Suntec City one day and there was a book fair happening. During my childhood days, the Bookworm Club Series was quite popular and I was browsing through some of the books on display and happily picked out the books I wanted even before checking with her whether I could purchase them. Despite the whole set costing a few hundred dollars, she still bought them for me. Today, I still have all these books kept at home.
As a child, I enjoyed reading. However, I lost that habit some way during my growing up stage. But I’m so thankful that I found back the pleasure that reading brings. This year, I’m determined to read one book a week (I didn’t start off the year with this resolution, but I guess it’s never too late to embark on a challenge). Here are ten reasons why I want to read a book a week this year.
1. Improves focus and concentration
It takes time to read a book as compared to reading an online article or the newspapers because a book is generally longer (some books go up to 900 pages). As such, it requires focus and concentration in order to complete a book. For many of us, it’s not easy to remain focus and concentrate on reading. However, as we become engaged in a book and soak in the essence of the book, we start to increase our attention span. In an “instant” world, where we can get everything instantly and at our fingertips, the ability to focus and concentrate is highly sought after.
2. Inculcates self-discipline
There will be times when you will feel like giving up, especially when work piles up or your commitments increase. At those times, you may decide to stop reading. However, by sticking to this resolution, you are building up self-discipline in yourself. The people who achieve great things are often times people who have tremendous self-discipline.
3. Improves imagination
I rediscovered the joy of reading fiction books recently. In the past, I didn’t really like reading fiction books, as I felt that they are a waste of time since they are just stories. I used to think that non-fiction books are the true heavy stuff. I have now realised the importance of having a balanced diet. A balanced diet means you don’t simply consume meat (protein), but also include vegetables, carbohydrates, and other stuff. I now supplement my reading with some fiction books and I think they work wonders for my imagination. Because you can only read the written description of whatever is taking place in the book, you have to tap on your imagination and creativity to create that image in your mind. In fact, you are limited only by what you can imagine. It’s kind of sad to realise that many of the young ones are growing up not being able to visualise and imagine because they have been watching so much movies or television instead of reading.
4. Increases knowledge
One of the benefits of reading is that it increases your knowledge. A book is a treasure trove of knowledge and information. We have been deluded to think that education can only happen in the classroom or in a formal institution, yet this is far from the truth. Reading is one of the best and cheapest ways to learn something. Compared to the cost of a university education, books are actually a bargain for the wealth of learning you can get. I’ve learnt so much about the world and various topics through reading. In fact, a study has shown that books in the home are strongly linked to academic achievement. Furthermore, I see a book as a piece of work that someone has painstakingly put together after doing his or her own research, studies and fact-finding. It’s a consolidation of hours of hard work. Since someone has already taken the effort to write it down, it make sense to take full advantage of their efforts.
5. Inspires action
“The mediocre book tells. The good book explains. The great book inspires.” There are many genres for our reading pleasure and some books are so inspiring that they inspire us to take action and take charge of our lives. Generally, biographies of inspirational people inspire us to break out of the mould and take action. They inspire us to make a difference in this world. Another book – “Do hard thing” is another example of a book that inspired me to take action after reading.
6. Increases reading speed
We become better with practice and reading speed is a skill that can be improved as long as we take time to train and practice. I consider myself as someone with average reading speed and the challenge of reading one book a week will push me. There are times when it won’t be easy but I believe that as long as I stay focused and disciplined, I’ll be able to increase my reading speed. Who knows, I may even be able to do two books a week in the future? 😉
7. Increases vocabulary and communication
While reading alone will not make you a better orator or speaker, reading definitely increases your vocabulary and helps you in expressing yourself. As you get exposed to more and more words and phrases, your ability to articulate and present your point of view will improve.
8. Increases worldview
Reading opens up my mind and heart to new ideas, new teachings, new cultures, new philosophies, and new worldviews. There are books written on almost every topic under the sun and reading exposes me to all these different school of thoughts. There are many different approaches to life and the ideas presented in different books help to increase my worldview. Furthermore, reading books about history and past mistakes help us to pick up lessons learnt and discern what worked and what doesn’t.
9. Improves relationships
Books provide opportunities to improve our current relationships with others. They provide excellent conversation starters as well as offer depth to our conversation. Speaking to a doctor? Reading a book about medicine may provide you with great ideas for a conversation starter. Talking to a teacher? A book about education may just be the spark to get a conversation going. Our conversations can also go deeper as we talk about the things in the book. It’s interesting to also share with others what you have learnt through the book as well as hear from them what insights they gleaned from their reading too.
10. Interesting entertainment
Everything mentioned above are benefits associated with reading. Yet, if we just see reading as merely a chore or a task to accomplish, then it’s going to be a drag for us. Rather, reading has entertainment value. Reading is not only fun, but it also brings the above benefits. A good book can keep us entertained for hours as well as develop these critical skills that we need to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Talk about a product with multiple benefits.
In concluding, there are so many awesome books that I’ve yet to read. As of today, I’ve completed 23 books and am 29 books short of 52. I’ve recently completed the Bible and am currently reading Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World. While it’s tough to write this publicly, I think that the accountability and encouragement will be helpful for me in completing this challenge.
I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage you to read and there’s no better time to start than today. You don’t have to start with reading a book a week but how about a book a month or a book a fortnight. Let me know if you’re joining me in this reading challenge. I’ll be happy to hear from you.
Finally, do share your book recommendation in the comments below.