14 Reasons I Consume Books Like Bacon
In a time when people are reading almost constantly whether it be a text message or an advertisement, it really is quite incredible how few books are being read. The long-form book is rarely appreciated for what it truly brings to the table. In my own recent efforts to become a better man, I wanted to reacquaint myself with the physical, hard-copy book that I used to know and love. It wasn't until I began reading regularly that I fell in love with reading again. I hope you'll join me in my reading adventures. Perhaps, first, we should look to the benefits of reading. The following fourteen listed here are benefits that I have come to see first-hand in my own life.
1. Reduces stress
Believe it or not, reading relaxes you. Rough day at work? Sit down with a good book and take a load off your mind. Absorb yourself in focused thought and relaxation.
2. Helps you write better
Great writers, like any type of artist, are not born, they are made. They must study their craft, analyzing the masters before them. Even if you have no dreams of becoming a world-renown author, writing is such a core facet of communication that the time invested in reading is quite worth it.
3. Increases your vocabulary
Authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis use vocabulary that sometimes has faded out of use or is rarely heard among the "common man." Reading helps us build a larger vocabulary while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of word-use through the context.
4. Improves your memory
The complex theories or deeply woven plot-lines of books push our minds to understand and follow longer, more-complex trains of thought than the sound-bite media that we consume daily. Reading regularly will help to expand and strengthen our capability to remember and recall.
5. Expands your sense of the possible
Sometimes you have to see others do it first before the impossible becomes possible to you. Reading about the struggles and challenges overcame by people like you and me helps to embolden us to take on those seemingly insurmountable obstacles ahead. Reading inspires us.
6. Provides you with quality entertainment
Pick up a great novel, curl up with a cup of steaming coffee and watch yourself get lost in the story. You'll find yourself looking up at the clock at 2:00am wondering where the time went. You'll turn off the television... or better yet, won't even turn it on. You'll find yourself anxious for the next available minute to read just one more page. If you have never experienced such immersion in quality literature, might I suggest "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" or "Oliver Twist"? For readers who are younger or would rather begin with easier-to-read writing styles, I highly recommend Christopher Paolini's, "The Inheritance Cycle" or J.K. Rowling's, "Harry Potter" Series.
7. Trains your mind to think better
In 2013, according to The Huffington Post, 28% of American adults didn't read even one book and over half read less than five. We consume content in bite sized pieces: news stories, tweets, and blog posts. Successful people such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, however, are reading over 50 books per year. Reading informs but also trains your mind. By forcing you to consider questions, facts, and the reasoning of other brilliant minds, you exercise your mind as well.
8. Makes you look sexy
Have you seen that picture of George Clooney (Header Image)? Granted, the guy's got a lot going for him without the book. But you can't dispute the fact that a guy or a girl seen reading philosophy or classic novels in their spare time screams "I've got class."
9. Teaches you
Knowledge isn't absorbed through osmosis (believe me, I've tried). Rather, it is sought out and deliberately filed away. Knowledge comes through exposure. Incredibly, reading opens the doors for you to be exposed to lifestyles, worldviews, cultures, and through processes of such variety that you can't help but grasp a better understanding of our world.
10. Introduces you to other worldviews
Upon returning home from my trip this past summer I realized how narrow your experiences are by staying put. While reading will not pass as an appropriate substitute for such experiences, they open your eyes to many things that remain largely unknown to much of your own culture. These experiences shape and define a person's way of life down to the very way in which they perceive things - their worldview.
11. Cultivates your imagination, creativity and adventurous mind
Imagination is the cornerstone of childhood. It turns carboard boxes into castles and wrapping-paper roles in to swords. Somewhere along the way, our imagination is stripped from us or dampened by the daunting task of midterms. Our minds, however, crave such adventure and fantastical dreams. Movies like the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy or the "Harry Potter" series tap into that childlike craving for a quest! While these movies do a great deal to entertain and reignite that spark, it hands it all to us on a silver screen. Between the pages of a book our minds run wild. We can construct those castles and swords again! Reading churns up this adventurous spirit, cultivating and refining it.
12. Allows you to stand on the shoulders of giants
Have you ever let your mind wonder back through history and realize that the Egyptians who built the pyramids probably were pretty smart cookies? And even further back than that, before the Flood of Noah's time, the Tower of Babel was built by some brilliant minds as well. But each of the civilizations following didn't have to relearn how to build gigantic structures. Now, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Rocket Scientists don't have to figure out how to unearth materials that they want to use to build a rocket - they just put in an order from a supplier. Books are like the purchasing system that rocket scientists use - those who have come before us established a framework upon which we can build. When we read, we glean certain truths that have taken generations to discover, and we move forward thus advancing civilization.
13. Improves your wit, your storytelling and your ability to converse
The ability to converse and do so naturally and with enough flair to keep the conversation lively is one of the undisputed skills of a Renaissance man/woman. This involves a subtle ability to engage in any topic of conversation, interject quips when called for and to entertain listeners through storytelling. These skills, though refined through practice, originate with the body of knowledge, understanding and perceptiveness that comes, in part, through a good book.
14. Extends your attention span and focus
It's an absolute wonder that our attention spans have been diluted down to what they are today. It is estimated that if we are not hooked within eight seconds of giving something our attention, with no external motivation, we move on. Eight seconds? Wow. I picked up on this truth as I read through incredibly fast-paced, to-the-point books written by authors within the last 10 years. As I picked up an old C.S.Lewis book, "Surprised by Joy", I was met with a slow-paced, sluggish book that droned on about topics that seemed to have no relevance. By the time that I turned the last page, I was hooked on every word. The ending was truly a work of art, crafted over the course of many chapters, setting the scene. Reading books such as these can exercise your patience in a good way. You will find you are able to see past momentary lulls in interest and stay tuned in to the object of your attention.
Since the point of this post is to encourage you to either begin reading or pick up your reading habits, I would be horribly remiss if I didn't leave you with a few suggestions.