The importance of reading books is often overlooked. Although the value found in the pages of a good book is regularly underestimated, reading can transform your life in many ways.
Let’s explore how reading books can impact your life for the better.
The importance of reading books
Reading books has been a popular pastime for centuries. Its popularity exploded after the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1436.
Prior to that, books were transcribed by hand. The speedy operation of the printing press allowed ideas to travel faster.
Since then, books have played a role in shaping history through the circulation of ideas. But the unfortunate reality is that reading books is a slowing habit. In a Gallup survey, Americans today are reading an average of two to three fewer books than they read 10 years ago.
The decline in reading books means that more people are missing out on the benefits. Whether you read for knowledge or pleasure, books give you an opportunity to learn new things and decompress in an escape from the world.
As an affordable source of entertainment and knowledge, the importance of reading books should not be understated.
Advantages of reading books
So, why is it important to read books?
The reading habits of successful people illuminate just how much reading matters. For example, Bill Gates claims to read 50 books per year and Mark Cuban reads around 3 hours every day.
You have the opportunity to get the same knowledge as these successful people by picking up the same book. Here’s a better look at some of the many advantages of reading.
It improves memory functions
In order to get the most out of a book, you must remember what happened in the previous chapter to understand the next chapter. A book will build on the information provided along the way.
The simple act of reading a story acts as an exercise in memory function.
You can learn new skills
One of the amazing things about books is the sheer variety of topics available. In addition to classic novels created for entertainment, almost every skill under the sun has a book written on the topic.
You can learn about everything from sewing to decluttering with the help of a book. For example, you can learn about how investing works with this book by the founder of Clever Girl Finance, Bola Sokunbi!
You'll discover different viewpoints
When you pick up a new book, you are opening the door to the viewpoint of the author. With countless authors out there, you can explore a wide range of opinions on the same topic.
Exploring different approaches to the same topic can give you a way to see the world through a different lens. If you are curious about a topic, reading several books about it can help you understand it.
Increases your creativity
One of the great advantages of reading books is the possibility of increasing your creativity.
As a reader, you can embark on adventures in an entirely different world. Or discover new skills to serve your everyday life. The myriad of ideas presented in books can spark a bit of creativity inside of you.
An increased imagination can lead to taking bigger leaps of faith in the real world. For example, you might be inspired to start your own business or make bigger dreams for your career. You never know where a book might lead you.
Increases your communication skills
The importance of reading books is huge, as it can affect other parts of your life. Reading on a regular basis keeps your communication skills sharp. You can pick up new vocabulary with the help of context clues and gain a better understanding of sentence structure along the way.
Better communication skills can translate into a better financial future. That’s because employers want to hire people with a firm grasp on communicating ideas.
Can help with your personal improvement
Personal improvement can come in many forms. But reading a book with good information is an easy way to tackle self-improvement goals.
For example, let’s say that you struggle with a healthy money mindset. It’s possible to work towards a healthier outlook with the help of money mindset books.
The right book will challenge you to think about things differently. And many books offer a framework to set yourself up for success.
Allows you to disconnect
As we’ve mentioned, you can learn a lot from a book, which is a big part of the importance of reading books. But there’s something that can be said for the simple pleasure of reading for the sake of reading. You can benefit a lot from reading, even if you aren’t cracking open the latest self-help book.
A book can help you to disconnect from the world for a bit. The act of picking up a paperback, or disconnected e-reader, shuts off the outside world for a while. You can sit in a comfortable spot and escape to a story that captivates your imagination.
It’s incredibly essential to take care of your mental health. And one great way to do that is by feeding your soul with stories that inspire you. When you are ready to put the book down, you’ll walk away feeling refreshed.
Makes room for mental breaks
If you feel tired of staring at a screen, that’s normal! Most of us spend way too much time in front of a screen. But our eyes and brains need a break sometimes.
A book gives you a leisurely action to undertake while you let your mind take a break for a bit. It’s surprising how the simple act of reading can give you the break you need.
How to establish a reading habit: Harness the power of reading books
We’ve established the importance of reading books and even talked about the reading habits of successful people.
The litany of benefits is a compelling reason for anyone to dive into reading. But getting in the habit of reading books can be easier said than done.
Personally, I’ve always loved reading. But I got away from the habit of reading books regularly during college when the pressure of keeping up with school always beat out the inclination to read a book for myself.
Since graduating college, I’ve reimplemented good reading habits into my life. So, I know it’s possible to set up a reading habit from scratch!
Here’s an in-depth look at how you can start to build your own reading habit.
Head to the bookstore (or library!)
The first step in building a habit of reading books is to go to the bookstore or your local library. Or, if you are anything like me, you might have a pile of books on your shelf waiting to be read.
If you are worried about finishing a book by the due date but don’t want to pay the sticker price for a new book, check out your local thrift store. I love shopping at my local used book store. And it takes the pressure off of finishing a big novel quickly without breaking the bank.
The importance of reading books can transform your life. But try not to put too much pressure on your book choices. Pick books that you like, not ones that you think you should like.
Find a book that sparks your interest
When you look through the shelves, look for a book that sparks your interest. Whether you are on the hunt for fiction or non-fiction, you’ll likely find a book that appeals to you.
Of course, people say not to judge a book by its cover. But the cover is the first thing you’ll see. So, it’s understandable to make an assessment of interest based on the cover.
Chances are, you’ll find more than a few books that look like a good read.
Check out the reviews (but avoid spoilers)
If you have trouble deciding between your options, it’s a good idea to check out the reviews. After all, you don’t want your reading habit to stop in its tracks over a lousy book.
Taking advantage of the importance of reading books means finding a good one that keeps you interested.
The reviews can tell you tons about a book, sometimes too much. But to avoid the inevitable spoilers, check out the ratings on Amazon and Goodreads without reading an actual review. If thousands of people gave it a five-star rating, the book likely delivers on what’s promised.
Build your reading time
Once you have a book in mind, it’s time to create a reading time.
Pick a time for reading that works with your schedule. You might want to start the day with a book. Personally, I like to start reading before getting ready for bed.
With a time in mind, start with just a few pages. Make it your goal to read five to ten pages on the first day.
You can keep building up your reading habit over time. Sometimes, you won’t be able to put your book down when you find a great read.
If you get tempted to skip out on a reading commitment, remind yourself of the importance of reading books with this article.
Set a reading goal for the year
If you want to make reading a big part of your life, consider setting up a reading goal for the year. You can track this metric yourself. But I like to use Goodreads to keep track of the books I’m reading.
I recommend picking a realistic number for your life. So, if you haven't read a book in a while, try setting a goal for one book a month.
Personally, I have the goal of reading around 40 books a year. But of course, the number will vary from year to year as you move through different phases of your life.
The importance of reading books translates into benefits for your wellbeing!
So why is it important to read? Good reading habits can translate into a well-balanced life. You can use your reading time to learn new skills and disconnect from the outside world for a bit.
Not only this but there's a reason for the reading habits of successful people. They know that it helps them to understand new concepts and become more well-rounded, and you can do the same!