I like reading because it stretches my mind, expands my experience vicariously, toughens my psyche, builds my vocabulary, entertains me, educates me, and encourages me. (See a detailed post on “the benefits of reading books” from HealthLine).
Each of these reasons deserves an essay to elaborate, but what’s the point? Those who love reading already know this on a deeper level, and those who do not, well, won’t read it.
So, why bother? Well, I’m writing this to encourage those who already read to read even more.
Recommended Read: How To Cultivate The Habit of Reading And Enjoying It <
Why Is Reading So Important?
I was speaking with my brother the other day and was highlighting how grateful I was for our family and how we were raised.
I mentioned how our family was naturally endowed physically and (particularly) intellectually.
I mentioned how we all did exceptionally well in school (I’m talking about graduating tops in class – all three of my sisters, including my Dad, graduated with a 1st class/distinction, and my brother was the best graduating in his department). Also, how we managed to always lead our pack; or at least, sit amongst the council of leaders (even in religious settings)
As the talk went on, I began to highlight that this blessing we had wasn’t only biological (it wasn’t only because Mom and Dad were naturally intelligent people), but because they also ensured we got the best opportunity to develop our mental faculties (even more than theirs).
They sent us to the best schools they could afford, and often encouraged asking questions and holding contrary opinions. Consequently, we could argue (respectfully) about a lot of things with them; and sometimes even teach them something new. I recall my Dad asking my Sis to slow down whenever she starts talking about maths. And my Mom often laughs when I go off explaining science-related concepts with zeal.
Anyway, the latter – that is, allowing “us to develop our mental faculty” – was the main edge we had.
By encouraging and providing an enabling environment for learning (reading), our parents nudged us to develop our minds.
To better understand, think of how we learned how to carry out simple mathematical calculations.
We started with “1+1 = 2” and “2-1 = 1”. Those were LEVEL 1 mathematical operations.
Then we got introduced to multiplication, and soon division. LEVEL 2 operations.
At nursery and primary school, we could only process maths problems that included those four basic operations (those within Level 2). We couldn’t understand integral functions or find determinants. (You may never have even heard of Graham’s number, not until now).
In mathematical terms, we were limited to LEVEL 2 operations. Anything beyond that went over our heads, literally. And, if we forced ourselves, we had instant headaches or fell asleep.
Developing the mind takes time, and the progress is often slow (but worth it).
Thankfully, as we grew accustomed to the LEVEL 2 operations, it became easier to step up.
So, in secondary school, we were introduced to Exponentiation (aka, “raised to the power” ^). LEVEL 3 operations. And, the truth is that this is the highest level of mathematics operation most humans are aware of. Hence, most people can’t understand concepts that is beyond it.
Nevertheless, mathematicians know we have up to LEVEL 6 operations. And some of these deal with numbers that we literally can’t write or pronounce. Numbers that are so big all the atoms in the known universe do not sum up to. And, maths problems that are so difficult no computer can compute them, yet. We only know (imagine?) they exist.
The idea is, by learning the rudiments of maths – levels 1, 2, and 3 – you could understand basic mathematics problems. And this was sufficient to be a functional student.
Only mathematicians who have learned and even mastered how to think up to level 6 can bring about meaningful breakthroughs in the field of mathematics.
So also, most people have sufficient knowledge to function averagely in society, but only people who have developed their mental faculties through extensive study (of whatever they wish to excel in) can understand and achieve more.
Sadly, most people are aware of or choose to stick to only the BASIC and end there. They do not strive to know more. They only take what SCHOOL or their IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT taught them. They do not read enough.
Why Is Reading Important In Today’s Society?
From “relationships” to “money making”, your LEVEL of understanding is what determines how far you can go.
Most people are morons when it comes to relationships, and utter idiots when it comes to money.
Also, it is not that they don’t know how to “hustle” or save money. But they don’t know how to grow and secure their wealth. This is also a multibillion-dollar industry.
In today’s society, where opportunities are abundant and access to BASIC information is readily available (and mostly free), anyone who does not intentionally and consistently improve their knowledge will be left behind.
It is common to have uncles or parents who are not used to smartphones, social media, and the internet at large. If you are someone who understands the vast opportunities and possibilities that exist on the internet, you can’t help but wonder how they can even live this way.
But watch out; you too might be getting left behind. With the invention of blockchain technology, web3, Virtual reality, and much more. And, these are only one aspect.
There are also huge cultural changes that are hitting us in today’s society. From “transgenders” to “remote work”, society is changing remarkably, and fast. Only those who (read) can understand, adapt, and even thrive in it.
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What Happens When You Read Every Day?
There are LEVELS to everything. If someone is consistently succeeding, there is most likely higher-order thinking driving it. Not mere luck.
Though luck is also a factor.
As I mentioned; we (my family) are biologically endowed intellectually. And, yours, maybe, more than mine.
It is very unlikely that a child whose parents are both dummies will be the most brilliant student in the class (because intelligence is partly hereditary). So, biology and luck play a role I must admit, again.
It doesn’t end there.
Most average people (which I believe most of us are), with effort, can still develop faculties that will keep them ahead of those who were biologically gifted but refused to expand or even explore it.
(Please note that most of us are blessed intellectually. But surely not like Albert Einstein or say Elon Musk. But, we are all blessed. And maybe you even more than I.)
And, if you’re following, one of the best ways to stretch that mind of yours is by reading.
We read (and practised) to learn how to carry out LEVEL 1, 2, & 3 operations. And we will need to study harder to get to LEVEL 6.
You need to intentionally choose to grow, level, and step up in the aspect of life you wish to grow. It’s most likely going to be gruelling.
I’ve shared my story multiple times, but here it is again: one of the reasons I started my personal development journey was that even though I was doing well in school, I was a complete loser when it came to dating and making money. Most people are.
Of course, I’ve read dozens of books and still read like a psycho, and practice, and that’s why I am where I am today (even though I know I am still far from who I can be).
So, that’s why I read.
I read to upgrade my thinking faculty, so I can understand and do more in a fast-changing world.
So, I urge you too to read.
Read good books.
(But not maths books. I hate maths.)
What Books Should (Must?) I Read? [For young people between 15 to 35 years old]
Below are my top 20 books I wish every young person had already read
- “How To Win Friends And Influence People”, by Dale Carnegie
- “Sapiens”, by Yuval Noah Harari
- “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck”, by Mark Manson
- “48 Laws of Power”, by Robert Green
- “The Millionaire Fastlane”, by M.J DeMarco
- “Models”, by Mark Manson
- “12 Rules for Life”, by Jordan Peterson
- “Demon-Haunted World”, by Carl Sagan
- “Laws of Human Nature”, Robert Green.
- “Rejection Proof”, by Jia Jiang
- “Sum”, by David Eagleman
- “Meditations”, by Marcus Aurelius
- “Man’s Search For Meaning”, by Viktor Frankl
- “Denial of Death”, by Ernest Becker
- “Atomic Habits”, by James Clear
- “Can’t Hurt Me”, by David Goggins
- “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant”, by Eric Jorgenson
- “Influence”, by Robert B. Cialdini
- “Never Split the Difference”, by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz
- “Anti-fragile”, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Of course, these are not all the books I will recommend (some of the authors have a series of books that I all recommend). But, I don’t want it to be overwhelming, and I believe these are essential (because I apply the ideas in them almost daily) and within them, you can find further recommendations.
Nevertheless, strive to find books that help you master your craft and become exceptional in your field. To be afraid to invest in knowledge. It is the best investment because no one can steal it from you. And, you get to use it for the rest of your life; and even share it with others.
A Self-Help Writer And Editor Who Keeps It Simple (Yet Elegant)