Why Reading Should Be a Life-long Habit

What is the most recent book you’ve read? Have you even read a book in the last month? How about year? Sad to say, there are a lot of folks who have not read a single book after their college years. And by reading, I mean a real book, not a newspaper, magazine, or blog. A book.

Reading good books, not trashy romance novels or books that are not helping you to learn and grow as a person (a more recent book that is quite popular but I believe to be extremely vulgar and crude is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell), will really help develop and mature you as a person. The classics, American literature, auto-biographies, self-help, business…you can certainly learn a lot from such vast topics to choose from.

Here are some reasons why reading should be a life-long habit:

1) Learning through reading does not and should not stop once formal education has been completed. Your brain does not just stop functioning after school is over. You choose to have it stop functioning by not feeding it the proper intellectual stimulation it needs to grow. You can counter this by reading.

2) Everyone has habits. We have bad ones and good ones. Reading is a good one. Twenty minutes a day, or if you’re like me, a solid hour every weeknight and up to four-five hours on weekends, is plenty to get you started on the right track. No time, you say? Stop watching TV then. Seriously. Cut back on hours spent on the tube and pick up a book instead. TV, with its soap operas, a barrage of cheesy and stupid commercials trying to sell you anything and everything imaginable, and lame shows, strips people away from having a real life. More to come on this topic later.

3) You get to think outside the box. With books, new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking present themselves to you, in which you may not have realized on your own. That is how we challenge our own sense of comforts and happiness. Do you really need a huge house filled with clutter and things you don’t need or love? A minimalist/simple living book can help you change your view on possessions and lifestyle. Possession in and of itself is an illusion. How would I have come to that statement if I hadn’t gleaned wonderful and powerful philosophical ideas from great authors such as Henry David Thoreau?

In line with why reading should be a life-long habit, it is my continued goal to read every single day of my life and to read a certain amount of books every year. This year, my goal is to read 30+ books, and the rate I’m going, I will have surpassed this goal by much, much more.

Here is my current list of books I’ve read in 2010:

1) How to Win Friends and Influence People
2) Success With People
3) The Fred Factor
4) How Successful People Think
5) The Power of Less
6) Yes! How Noes Prepare You for the Yeses that Shape Your Future
7) What the Dog Saw
8) Simplify Your Work Life
9) Walden
10) Failing Forward
11) Freerunning
12) Peaks and Valleys
13) Travels With Charley
14) The Grapes of Wrath
15) The Happiness Project
16) The Catcher in the Rye
17) Jonathan Livingston Seagull
18) Born to Run
19) Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
20) Infinite Self

I’m nearly finished with Tribes by Seth Godin. I just can’t seem to get enough of books and reading them! For my continual reading list, go here.

What are some of the books you’ve recently read? How do you feel it has helped you?

View Comments

  1. Fanny says:

    I love the diversity within your list! I started “Linchpin” by Seth Godin – pretty good so far. How do you like “Tribes” ?

  2. I just finished reading Tribes last night. Seth Godin’s writing style is clear cut, straightforward, and pretty heretical-sounding too! Which is why I liked his book. :) Linchpin is on my list to read!

  3. Jonathan says:

    Agreed. A lot of people stop reading books after their college years. They resigned to watch TV, soap operas, movies, magazines.. etc. Nothing wrong with these, but there are much more in books than these entertainment.

    Plus, if a book is really great, then it’s worth to re-read it – and sometimes by re-reading a book, we might be inspired to see something that might’ve been missed the first time.
    I found this is esp. true when it comes to the Bible =)

    I can read a book anywhere – in a hospital, on my bed, on a 12-hour flight (I finished 2 books last year on a flight!). I also enjoyed reading a book along a lake/a peaceful place. :)

  4. One of the most relaxing methods to soothe your day’s stress, worries, and frustrations, I find reading to be as calming for me as for those who do yoga, meditation, take a warm bath, walk outside, call a friend, etc.

    Like you said, nothing is wrong with those other activities, which are mainstream, yet something is very wrong when a book is never read again after school is complete.

  5. Bill says:

    Your habits are like mine…constant growth requires acquring profound knowledges and skills….

  6. Absolutely, Bill! Without growth, we remain stagnant, unhappy, unchanged. To live is to grow. To grow is to live.

  7. Brooke says:

    I just found you and your blog, and you are awesome! :)

    I've had an injury-related layoff from work recently, and I don't know if I'll be going back for various reasons. After a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make good use of the library and maybe help my puny side business become huge. :)

    Books I've read this year (not all of them, but ones that have been exceptionally good)
    Linchpin (Seth Godin)
    Never Eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi)
    The War Of Art
    Reading Lolita In Tehran
    Trust Agents
    It's Not About The Coffee (by Sbux C-level manager)
    Eat Pray Love (yes–because I totally identify with her India section and my “noisy” mind)

    These are probably the most noteworthy.

    I also enjoy seeking out non-fiction on opinions opposite mine. I figure, if I still disagree with the author in the end, it bolsters my own opinion/argument, and I know more about “the other side”. And if I find the book that offensive… well… I've only checked it out of a library, not on my dime (other than taxes).

  8. Brooke, great use of your time! I love reading, books are so much fun and one can learn so much from it. The books you've read are definitely noteworthy (I love Gilbert's honest, heartfelt, and vivid accounts of her journey to find herself and I'm so glad she did!)

    Seeking out books (and people) that have opposing ideas/beliefs than what we hold is a wonderful way to open our minds, broaden our views of the world, and then, accept them for what is. We don't necessarily need to adopt those same ideas/beliefs, but respect for them certainly helps.

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