For every person barring a few fictional ones, life is only experienced once.
Reading as a habit is not about reading emails or news blogs, it is about reading a continuous stretch of 300 pages on a specific topic that is curated and published.
The habit of reading is about reading published books. It can be a hardcover, paperback or an e-book. It can be fiction or nonfiction. But it has to be active, conscious and continuous.
This post is about making a list of arguments on why reading is a must have habit.
But if you are impatient like me and would like to skip the rest of the post, here is the one-line takeaway that sums it all.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” — George R.R. Martin
Lack of Logical Edifice
A college graduate spends 21 years in the formal education system. During this time he/she is exposed to learn different subjects using two main tools, Reading and Writing.
After investing a significant amount of time and energy in learning and learning through reading, the habit of reading is lost immediately after college.
But reading is the basis of all learning both in formal and informal education. It is the ultimate meta-skill to learn any other skill.
The side effect of not reading books after college is, learning of new subjects turns in to snacking. Problems are solved through an intense search on Google and the knowledge is not retained.
A logical edifice on a given subject is never constructed and the notion of expertise remains elusive and unachievable.
This snack-based learning is a phenomenon across professional and personal lives after college.
Reading is a simple habit that can fix this.
A disciplined and habitual reading habit can help individuals build logical edifices in the area of their interests.
This structure will make one efficient at their job and compounds the return on knowledge.
Click Bait Conundrum
(If you have come this long in a blog post you are already better off than most, & I am elated.)
Journalism currently is Clickbait barbarism. Everything written on the internet either a blog or an article is optimized to make you click, to make you open the article.
Barring very few sources, the incentive is to make you open the article. Not to actually read it.
Recommendation systems play a big role in the clickbait economy. You can find more about the problems in these systems here.
Clickbait culture turned every topic into an outrage topic. Before I get outraged about the outrage economy the point to be made is, in the circus of clickbait the reader is just clicking all the time and reading nothing. And the reader has lost the most important part of his waking time.
Concentration is attacked and destroyed one click at a time.
One can try to control this urge to click baits. But it is virtually impossible because the system that you are working against is just a much larger and is a well-designed concoction of technology and human capital that an individual can never match.
Reading is an antidote to this phenomenon.
A sustained reading habit will refill your concentration tank. It is like lifting weights but for the mind.
In the reading gym, the only accomplices are the thoughts triggered by the book. The silence of recommendation algorithms will refill the concentration tank page by page.
In a clickbait economy reading sessions are a way to meditate.
Hack Your Self
Hacking is shortcutting a procedure that would otherwise need permission or a long process to complete.
In life, everyone has gaps in knowledge, spirit, and character. If the only way to fill these gaps is by experience, it would be dumb.
Every generation in evolution has leveraged both the successful and failed experiences of past generations to make progress into the future.
If these experiences are not leveraged it is not only that you are wasting your life but also of your forgotten ancestors.
Reading is a way to hack across life. It’s about knowing and learning from past stories and experiences.
It is about avoiding known mistakes and making only fresh and bold new mistakes.
Reading is the ultimate hack for growth and progress.
In an ever volatile skill market everyone is competing with everyone else to move ahead in their careers.
Competition is the name of the game.
To out-compete your colleague is the true business you are in.
To get an edgein this competition, reading can be a game-changer.
Readers have the edge to know more, to understand more. And a habitual reader will do it all effortlessly.
The way you outcompete other people is by out reading and out learning them.
We are Creatures of Desire. Our desires include all the things to acquire, places to go, experiences to be had. We make up a version of our-self we desire to be.
The image that we desire of our-self is always more ambitious than where our real self is travelling towards.
To make your desires come true, to believe in your best self and to enhance your best self, reading is a gateway drug where addiction is prescribed.
It will enhance and elevate all things in your mind.