On today’s blog I am going to talk about why you should invest some time on reading books. Reading books have taken a back seat in today’s fast paced money-can-only-make-you-happy society. People have switched from reading books to audiobooks and podcasts. YouTube will immediately give you the Top 10 marketing tactics of 2021, then why go to a business school?
Why Should I Read When I Can Watch?
Sites like YouTube, Facebook and Netflix have almost taken over our free time. Their motto is to keep the audience stuck for as long as possible. These companies do hour long meetings every week just to find new ways to keep the audience within the platform. Their algorithms are so well defined that you will surely fall for them. Every morning we go to Facebook to get our news, very less percentage of people read the actual news article on the news’ website. An image with a title does the work. Nobody cares who is the reporter or how updated is the data.
The short video formats are the most effective way to keep the audience glued to the screen.
An average adult in United States spends 38 minutes of his day on Facebook, almost an hour on Netflix and 40 minutes on YouTube. We can definitely carve out some time for reading. There is nothing wrong if you are getting your news on Facebook. But you start from news and wander off to the land of cuisines and funny videos in just 5 minutes. You loose track.
Your imagination takes a back seat and you let the algorithm take over. You become numb after a few years. You no longer laugh at the jokes on the screen. Your eyes and your brain just need something to watch. Sometimes you get influenced by a video to finally do something different in life but that feeling is immediately crushed by the next video which talks about how dangerous it is to live your life in Afghanistan. You feel sorry for the children in Syria and Somalia but you also don’t share the story on your timeline because that is not cool. Sharing a meme is cool and you choose the most easy way to stay relevant in the society.
It’s the algorithm that decides what you will watch today. You don’t have any control over it. What song did you recently listen to? Was it something that was on your YouTube home screen? Did you know the artist before?
Why read books then?
Any kind of reading provides stimulation for your brain, but different types of reading give different experiences with varying benefits. Stanford University researchers have found that close literary reading in particular gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions, while pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain. They concluded that reading a novel closely for literary study and thinking about its value is an effective brain exercise, more effective than simple pleasure reading alone. *Source: Open Education Database.
Reading makes us more empathetic, we begin to understand other beings.
Books elaborate the topic. Unlike your 5 minute quick video, a book will help you understand the topic in a much broader aspect. People read books and articles and then make those 5 minute videos. It’s the genesis.
Imagination takes the steering wheel when you read. You begin to create the scenes within your head. Read this slowly taking a deep breath,
"Matt was sad that his mother passed away, none of his relatives came to the funeral. He picked his iPhone to call his uncle but he didn't have his number." Did the sentence make any sense to you? Did you get food for thought? Your brain processes the data and compels you to imagine the situation even if you don't want to.
You get new information every time you read something new. If you read Murakami you would get to know Japanese culture. If you read Yuval Noah Harrari, you are to understand how homo sapiens took over earth to meet its needs.
You experience through reading. Travel blogs are one such example. The more immersive the content, the better the experience.
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I’ve Lost Interest in Reading
One of my friend recently said, “I’ve lost interest in reading. The last I read a book was 3 years ago.“
It’s hard to give your attention to a page that does not move or animate. It demands complete attention. And you give up within the first 5 minutes. Let me check the notification on Instagram and then I will continue reading. The algorithm on Instagram now fights to get your attention. If Instagram is not able to keep you on its platform for at least 5 minutes, then the software developer is not worth the salary. Everybody is trying to get your attention. They want clicks and impressions. Keep yourself sane, read books.
If you are starting after a long break, choose your book wisely. Don’t go for a massive, tough worded, scientific book. Go for an easy going short story and let your brain take the steering wheel while you read.
I got some inspiration from reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. It’s an easy read. It has real life examples that will make you go ruthless on society. You will surely love it and I give my 10/10 to it.