Why You Can’t Afford Not To Read…
There’s been a gradual decline in reading across America. This is very sad, because ultimately, it’s only hurting those who aren’t reading. There’s so many benefits to reading – in this week’s lesson I (Phil Svitek) share all those benefits. Here’s just a sample of one – Brazilian professor Paulo Freire says this about reading: “Reading is not exhausted merely by decoding the written word or written language, but rather anticipated by and extending into knowledge of the world. Reading the world precedes reading the word, and the subsequent reading of the word cannot dispense with continually reading the world. Language and reality are dynamically intertwined. The understanding attained by critical reading of a text implies perceiving the relationship between text and context.” That’s right – reading has proven to create a greater empathy and understanding of the world. In today’s global landscape, this because ultra important, in my mind at least. And it saddens me when I hear people abandoning the act of reading all together. Anyway, I’ll highlight other benefits to reading and how you too can read a book a week just like the most successful people in the world. Comment below with any questions or comments you have and more importantly the books you’re reading and recommend to others!
Most CEOs Read a Book a Week: https://www.inc.com/brian-d-evans/most-ceos-read-a-book-a-week-this-is-how-you-can-too-according-to-this-renowned-.html
A Snapshot of Reading in America: https://www.pewinternet.org/2014/01/16/a-snapshot-of-reading-in-america-in-2013/
AfterBuzz Contact Page: http://www.afterbuzztv.com/contact-faq/#toggle-id-18
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Today I want to focus on something many successful people do – which is reading. The reason I want to focus on reading is because I’m finding my personal circle of friends smaller and smaller in terms of those who read. Now, that’s not to knock them because many of them are on a great path to success. But I do feel like they’re missing out on something special. Potentially something that could help speed up their journey to where they want to go.
Brazilian professor Paulo Freire says this about reading: “Reading is not exhausted merely by decoding the written word or written language, but rather anticipated by and extending into knowledge of the world. Reading the world precedes reading the word, and the subsequent reading of the word cannot dispense with continually reading the world. Language and reality are dynamically intertwined. The understanding attained by critical reading of a text implies perceiving the relationship between text and context.”
Reading has proven to create a greater empathy and understanding of the world. In today’s global landscape, this because ultra important, in my mind at least. And it saddens me when I hear people abandoning the act of reading all together. Here’s some statistics on reading as reported by PEW Research.
About 72% of American adults read a book in 2015. This represents a gradual decline over the last 5 years – in 2011 the percentage was 79. Mind you even these stats are somewhat skewed because of that 72% there’s a large contingency of people who reported to reading “one book, in part.” This makes it very unclear how many actually finished.
In my earlier episode called It’s Not What You Know, It’s What You Do When You Don’t Know, I showcase strategies for overcoming the moments in life when we’re stuck on a problem or just want to learn a new skill. If that’s you, why wouldn’t you use the wonderful resource that is books to obtain this information? More often than not, books offer the exact solutions we’re looking for. And I would argue that even when you’re creating something new and revolutionary, having some solid ideas from the past’s great thinkers will help. For example, How Google Works and Platform Revolution were extremely eye-opening for me when it came to how AfterBuzz TV should continue in its growth.
Let me highlight the other benefits of reading. More than like you’re not a child watching this, but if you have children, studies indicate that reading for pleasure makes a huge difference in a kid’s educational performance. Doing so increases their test scores while broadening their vocabulary and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, reading is more effective at a child’s progression in school than their social or economic background.
Other benefits, the ones that extend to everyone, are:
- Imagination and creativity,
- Focus and concentration,
- Improvement in memory,
- Cheap or free entertainment,
- Cheap or free education,
- Gaining experience from other people,
- Creates bonds between you and the author as well as other people who you can connect with on the ideas and themes of the book
- Language development,
- Exposure to new ideas and concepts,
- Connects your brain and enhances concentration, and
- Improves self-esteem because it highlights that you don’t give up.
Furthermore, reading is a fundamental function within society – a vital aspect to landing a good job. There’s applications to read and fill out, memos to read, reports to analyze and so on. Additionally, I’m willing to bet if it’s a job you really want to pursue, at some point you’ll be tasked to write a report or put together a presentation of your own. Maybe even give a speech. As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
You might be able to put something together but it’ll take you much longer and may not reflect what you truly want to pen to paper.
Here’s another perspective as to the importance of reading. Are you familiar with the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” The reason that saying holds true is because ideas written down have altered mankind – for better or worse. Reading builds on good ideas and exposes the bad ideas before they bring about destruction. Reading arms us in this way against the world. That may seem like hyperbole but look at certain governments of past and present. Reading is the reason governments hate free and honest communication. Illiterate people are controllable because they can’t think different thoughts other than those presented to them. And that is truly dangerous.
Based on the current statistics of this series, many of you live in nations with free speech. With free libraries. Take advantage of them. Do not let another day pass where you’re not reading. It can be for pleasure or knowledge. Doesn’t matter. Read.
Here’s a statistic for you – most CEOs, and I use them because objectively we’d look at any CEO as successful, read 52 books a year. That may seem daunting especially if you haven’t been in the habit of reading. That’s okay. You don’t have to start with 52 a year. Just improve little by little. Read daily and see how far that gets you. Instead of checking social media every time you have a moment of down time, bust out a book. You’d be surprised how many pages you can read just through this act alone. Many people supplement books with audio books, that way they can continue the book while in their car driving to work and then later on pick up in the actual book where they left off. This allows them to speed through books. Nothing wrong with that. I do it and encourage it.
FYI, I’ve included a link to an article on how you too can read 52 books a year. It’s from Inc.com and I highly recommend you read it. Pun intended.
If you’re looking for recommendations to begin, here’s a list of the books that have impacted me the most in my life.
When I was just hitting my teenage years, I was obsessed with The Matrix films. In fact, I even parodied them through my own videos. My obsession with the movies was in large part the action, but it was also because of the ideas presented in those movies. And yes, that includes both Reloaded and Revolutions. This lead me to read a book called Beyond the Matrix. That book took the ideas of those movies and explained them so wonderfully. I highly recommend it, whether you’ve seen the movies or not.
Another book I recommend is called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. When you read it you’ll realize how aptly titled it actually is. Certainly I had that epiphany while reading it at the age of 16. I was in Slovakia, where my family is from, and finished the book. I remember getting on my bike and just going nowhere in particular feeling like I understood the world. Little did I know there was lots for me left to learn, but nonetheless the book was extremely helpful in progressing my life forward.
When I got to college a book that was recommended to me by my mentor Robert Patton-Spruill was Rebel Without a Crew. For fans of this series, you’ll know that I adore Robert Rodriguez as a filmmaker. This is a book he wrote about his first feature film El Mariachi. He chronicles how he made the entire film from start to finish for only $7,000 dollars. What was wonderful about it is it dispelled all the myths of movie making, especially the need for large budgets and large crews. Even if you’re not a filmmaker, there’s something to be gained by reading it.
Another book I read during college, actually it’s a series of two books, is called The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. And yes, it’s about Winnie the Pooh and his Hundred Acre Wood friends. The two books use these characters to highlight the principles of Taoism rather well. It’s a fast and easy read but the knowledge is invaluable. Wonderful read for both adults and children. In fact, I read it once a year.
A book that I didn’t read until I was 28 was Tony Robbin’s Money: Master the Game. I wish I read it as soon as it came out. Everyone of us needs financial stability in our lives. And this is the perfect roadmap to achieving it. I can’t thank Tony enough for writing it and also thank you to AfterBuzz TV founders Keven Undergaro and Maria Menounos for suggesting it to me. It changed my life. Please, whether you’re young or old or somewhere in between, do yourself a favor and read this book. It may help you to start with Tony’s book Unshakeable first, which is a shortened version of this book. That’ll give you enough concepts to work with and will make you thirst for the finer details on what the book presents, which Money: Master the Game offers.
A lot of these recommendations are non-fiction books, I understand. Note that I also do enjoy fiction greatly, whether it’s Ham on Rye, The Golden Compass, The Princess Bride, The Graveyard Book, Time Traveler’s Wife, The Prestige and so on.
Another tip, since a lot of you are TV fans, you’d be surprised how many of your favorite TV shows come from books. Get to know the source material by reading the books that have formed your favorite TV shows.
If it’s education you’re seeking though, I understand certain people do learn better from videos. I have nothing against those. I just encourage you to read a little more, that’s all. Here’s some great YouTube channels I do recommend for learning: Fightmediocrity, Create Something, Just Write and any TED talk video.
To help reinforce the importance of reading, here’s some quotes I really love.
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
– Groucho Marx
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney
“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” – Marcel Proust
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” – Neil Gaiman
“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.” – Roald Dahl
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein
Just a few final things before you go diving into a great book. First, the transcript of this episode is in the description – that way you can review the lesson at your convenience in written form. Also, as mentioned, we have included a link to how you too can read 52 books a year like a CEO. While you’re here, leave a comment with your favorite books. Let us know why it’s impacted you so much. Can be fiction or nonfiction. If you enjoyed this video, please be sure to hit that like button and tell your friends and family about the show. Another way to help support this show is by going to Patreon.com/PhilSvitek. There you can donate a small monthly contribution that helps us out tremendously to put together these lessons. Speaking of which, if you’d like to be notified when future episodes release, be sure to subscribe on either Apple Podcast or YouTube. Lastly, if you’re a new host in the LA area and would like to join AfterBuzz, visit AfterBuzz TV’s contact page. A direct link is provided. Or ,of course, you can Tweet @PhilSvitek or Instagram @BonjourJuliet. Thanks for watching.