I LOVE reading books. It’s an activity I’ve always enjoyed for pleasure. However, as I grew up, it was tough to keep up with regularly as I dedicated myself to academics, sports, and other extracurricular activities up through high school.
Things changed in college as classes were more spread out and I completely controlled the way I spent my time. By senior year, I figured out where I could cut corners while still seeing the results I wanted, thus giving me ample time to read. As I put the finishing touches on a strong academic career, I felt like my self-education through books was only just beginning. I started getting into business books, biographies, autobiographies, and other non-fiction. The ideas and stories I was exposing myself to had a strong influence on helping shape my ever-evolving identity and life outlook (often more so than my classes) as I was trying to figure out what post-grad life had in store for me.
My newfound love for reading continued when I moved back home to Long Island after graduation. Although I was itching to move into NYC, one of the only redeeming qualities of my hour and a half train commute to my social media job at VaynerMedia was the peace and quiet it gave me to read. And read I did.
Since moving into the city in April 2013, I’ve happily discovered some incredible authors who have further inspired the way I see the world and my vision for a meaningful life and career. In the past six months alone, I’ve really stepped my reading game up. I’m devouring books I always wanted to read, adding new ones to my long reading list, and buying them in bulk. It’s AWESOME.
Please do yourself a favor.
Stop checking your email constantly. Forget the news. Binge watch one less show.
Instead, pick up a good book, get lost in it, and thank me later.
Why You Should Read More Books:
1. Makes you more interesting – If you’re always carrying around a book, your peers will know there’s more to you than meets the eye. If they care enough to ask about what you’re reading, you’ll not only open up about what you care about but also demonstrate a depth to your personality that they may not have known existed. Whenever I go to someone’s residence for the first time, I’m always fascinated by the books on their shelves. It gives me further insight into that person’s world and makes me more interested in wanting to get to know them better and learn about their passions.
2. Makes you smarter – Learning doesn’t stop after college. It’s a lifelong process. Regardless of the genre you like reading, you’ll gain intelligence after spending hours with a book. If you read about the history of your industry, you’ll likely avoid repeating mistakes at work and might even replicate how other individuals / companies succeeded. If you read a fiction novel, you’ll develop insights into lessons that you can apply to your own life. If you read an autobiography,….you get the point. The key is comprehending a book’s lessons and turning them into knowledge by actually applying them to your life.
3. Self-discovery – Perhaps the coolest thing about reading a book is its ability to change your life. It’s such a magical feeling to read an author for the first time and really connect with their message, so much so that you do something differently in your life because of them. I’ve learned a ton about myself in recent years through books and am thankful for the direction they’ve given me in terms of where I see my life going. If you keep an open mind and take a deep dive into the authors / subjects that interest you, your life will never be the same again.
4. Makes you a better leader – Even the best leaders don’t have it all figured out. Books are a great resource to turn to when you’re struggling with any issue. You better believe that someone in the last two thousand years faced the same problem you’re dealing with, wrote it down, and came up with a solution. In addition, they’re also a great source of inspiration for new ideas and insights into humans that can help you motivate and better understand the people you’re managing.
5. Better investment of time and money – How much do you really get out of the countless number of articles and blog posts you skim? From my experience, they are nice to read and might make you feel good, but you’re not really taking any sort of valuable action from them. Since they are free to consume, they are devalued, thus making their readers less likely to act upon their lessons. It’s true that a book might cost you 10 bucks. However, you’re getting so much better value for money because the author put at least a year’s worth of effort into it, not to mention that it likely draws from his or her entire life experience. The financial exchange combined with time investment result in a much higher willingness to take action that will improve the quality of your life.
6. Gives you the mentorship you always wanted – You probably think your career is doomed because you haven’t found that magic bullet of a mentor that’s going to take you under their wing on the road to success. Authors are perhaps the most underrated connectors and mentors out there. They spill their guts onto the page about their successes and failures, hoping to teach their readers a thing or two. Those who write biographies about successful men and women, or those high achieving men and women who write their own autobiographies, are essentially handing you the keys to the kingdom. Why chase the perfect mentor when there are hundreds publicly sharing answers to the questions you’ve been wanting to ask and serving as living examples of the types of career paths you’ve always dreamed of?
7. Makes you a better writer – Writing well will forever be a valuable skill in the workplace. By exposing yourself to the highest quality of writing, you will subconsciously become a better writer. Whether it’s structuring a complex argument, using better grammar or telling an exhilarating story, professional authors are indirectly showing you how to step up your writing game. You might just be surprised about much more of an effective communicator you become by spending time with a book each day.
8. Keeps you mentally sharp – Every time you finish and turn a book’s page, you’re exercising your brain power. The more you do it, the stronger your mind becomes. You’ll start to have more and better ideas. Your ability to make valuable connections between unrelated ares to come up with creative solutions will be enhanced. You’ll even have more of an appreciation for a variety of viewpoints, which will help you evaluate an issue from all angles and make a more informed decision.
9. It’s fun – Consuming book content that speaks directly to what you’re interested in or want to learn more about is a BLAST. Reading gets a bad rap because it’s most closely linked with school work, which everybody hated doing. However, if you read what you want and approach the act as a form of mental play, it’s going to be time very well-spent.
10. Makes you more well-rounded – Everybody takes different things away from different books. The more you read, the more lessons and themes that you will carry with you throughout your life. This, combined with the variety of subject matter that you’ll consume, will give you an incredible repertoire of knowledge that allows you to participate intelligently in all sorts of conversation. When you drop knowledge in a conversation that your peers or strangers didn’t know you had, they might be so inclined to ask you where you picked up that information. You can simply smile and answer them, “I read a lot of books.”
What’s your favorite book? Let me know in the comments :)