Why should we read?

  • Focus Building
  • Reduces chances of dementia in old age
  • Books open you up to new ideas
  • Elevates your social status
  • Reduces public speaking anxiety
  • Reading heals you

You might have heard it several times that reading books improve your concentration and focus. I would say it can be as beneficial as meditation to your mind. It does not matter what kind of book you enjoy. Could be a novel, could be history, politics, romance or poetry. As long as it keeps you hooked for hours at a stretch. Ever since the invention of smart devices our attention span is continuously on the declining path. Reading can restore our attention. Here I must mention that whether it is you or your child, what kind of book you pick up is really important. It is not uncommon to find agenda filled, hatred spreading and venom spiting books.

The current education system almost hates the idea of memorizing things. The main argument against it is that it compromises the logical thinking capability putting more stress on memorizing. It is true up to an extent but there has to be a balance. We do not want our next generations to GOOGLE or WIKI for everything. The neuroscientists have also demonstrated that if you regularly try to memorize and recall it enhances your neural capability reducing chances of dementia in old age.

Not every book inspires you to do something different but some of them do have the capability to make you look at the world around you with a changed outlook. For example a very simple book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson lifted my spirit up when chips were down. I read it in one go in a long flight. I read “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely over a month. Now I can say it makes me identify my own cognitive biases in day to day life e.g. shopping.

Light travels faster than sound, hence you should dress well enough. But sound decides where you will be in social ladder eventually. Indeed I’m not speaking about impressing someone in Tinder or Instagram. When you are in a real social gathering, where people engage is meaningful conversations, you will always be respected if you have an opinion about things solidly backed up by your knowledge on the subject. One can Google/Wiki for almost everything. But data is not equal to opinion. To build your own perception you need to read, think, combine with what you know already and then read again.

I have observed most people who have public speaking anxiety have fear of being proven wrong. Naturally when you build a solid platform of knowledge in your head, it is only a matter of time when you begin expressing yourself more confidently.

Now coming to the healing part; the main reason why I decided to write this blog. This is a personal experience. I used to read when I was a kid. I read Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon etc when I was in college. Somehow I had lost that habit growing up into my professional life. Couple of years back I hit a rough patch in life that pushed me into spiral depression. None of my hobbies, work or daily routine could save me from constantly depressing thoughts. Almost by an accident I picked up a book one day and for the first time in months I did not realize how a couple of hours had passed by. I was away from my PC and mobile phone but did not feel the urge to rush to them. The more I read with every passing day, week and month, the more I found the comforting detachment that the closely packed digital world did not allow me to have. So apart from all the other good reasons, there is one more reason to read … it heals!


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