I decided to write this post because I wanted to illustrate how important reading books is. And to share some of my experiences how reading books daily changed my life.
I’ve been a sceptic when it comes to reading books for a long time, as a kid and as a teen I never read any books, in fact the first full book I’ve ever read was when I was 21 (it was called “Screw it, Let’s Do It by; Richard Branson). I thought that reading books was a “waste of time”, I didn’t see the point in it (probably because I was associating books with fiction) I saw them as entertainment and I didn’t have the patience to read something for just be entertained I had no idea that (non-fiction) books can be such an infinite well of knowledge and enlightenment.
This is the story of how I got interested in reading books:
When I first move to Liverpool from London in Mid 2013 I walked in to a book charity shop in town. My cousin wanted to search for a few books on her reading list. It was a big shop with plenty of books, and my stupid stubborn self just decided that “I can’t be bothered with books”. So I sat down on a chair and put my headphones on, completely ignoring the books. Right in front of me was the History section of the store, and the thing is that I’m a huge history nerd. A few books caught me eyes immediately (Mongol Empire, Greek Mythology and Roman Empire ware the books). So I stood up and pick up a book and started to turn the pages. I was really interested, right next to it was the Business section and I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so I looked at a few books from there as well. So I started to walk around the shop and looking at other books, I found the “philosophy” and “self-help” section, and man I’m a sucker for a good self-help book. So I ended up buying four books (one self-help, two business and one history book), I spend around £12. When I got home I thought to myself that I will probably never read this books. And I put them away. A few days later I had a bit of free time and I started to read the self-help books and I got hooked, then I read the second one, then the third and then I finished the fourth. A few months later I was back in the shop for more. I was hooked!
When I started reading the books this is what happen to me:
#1 This was the foundation of helping me defeat my depression.
Like so many people today, I’ve been to a mild to medium for of depression for about two years (on and off). You know how it is, sometime we get stuck in a pattern of thinking for sometimes and we go to that dark place in our heads, I’m completely open about my experiences and I think that this is the first step to over come depression.
There ware two main things that started to happen when I was reading, I had a goal and I felt a sense of accomplishment. I set out a goal of reading at least 5 times a week, 5-6 pages a day, every week day. I’m an unbelievably slow reader, I didn’t pay attention in school so I didn’t master the technique when I was a kid, so that means that it case me 15-20 minutes to read 6 pages from a book (yeah you read that right, 20 minutes, my parents can read a full book in 4 days, it takes me a month for me to complete a full book). At first I didn’t wont to do it because it was taking ages, and I felt unconformable because every time I read it pissed me of that I’m so slow. But the more important thing was that I had something that I needed to accomplish that day, and that was to read a few pages. When I was going to my dark times one of the main things was that I didn’t want to do anything and I had no target to hit, goal to follow, you know something to get me up in the morning. But that small task of reading a few pages was the stepping stone I needed to make the steps needed, to get my life back in order.
The other thing that happen was that every time I finished my reading I felt a sense of accomplishment, it felt really good, and since I have difficulties reading and I’ve never done it before, at the begging it felt really stimulating and I felt like I have overcome an obstetrical. That boosted my confidence and made me believe in myself again.I remember that when I first started reading books I used to do 4-5 reading sessions a day because it felt so good after I finished reading, also I got so hooked on reading books that I manage to read a 150 page book in a day, It took me around 10 hours of reading and I took some lunch brakes here and there. I remember it was on a Sunday (because I had nothing to do in my list) I think it was in 2013 but I’m not sure to be honest and the name of the book was “the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership” by John C. Maxwell.
#2. It exposed me to new ideas, philosophies and horizons I never knew existed.
I know it probably sounds like a cliché, but it was definitely true for me, reading books open new horizons for me. I believe that each book )non-fiction and excluding school books) is an idea, a representation of each person’s philosophy, how a person sees the world, a person speaks he’s “truth” when he writes a book, and when you read a book you are exposed to someone else’s “truth”.
From business, self-help, history to philosophy, different non-fiction books can teach you so much about, life, business, other people and most importantly yourself. When I look back at the last couple of years I can see the tremendous progress I have made in every field of my life and I think that a huge part of that is because I open my mind and started to read other people’s stories, successes and failures.
I read book to educate myself and to learn information on a topic that I’m interested about or it will be beneficial to me. I usually don;t read for pleasure or entertainment (I watch stand-up comedy and watch TV series for entertainment). My advice to you is to read as much as you can, read to educate yourself, obtain valuable information, expose yourself to ideas that you never heard before. Approach books as a great investment in yourself.
#3. Massively improved my verbal skills and extensively expanded my vocabulary.
English is not my first language. I learned all of my English from watching cartoons as a kid, and then when I grow up I started watching movies and stand-up comedy without a voice over. When I came to the UK in 2011 I’ve never spoken much English with native speakers before that. My English was ok at the beginning, but since a started reading books I had a massive improvement. When I read books I constantly work on my language skills, learn new words and see how sentences are structured in a different way. I think that speaking and verbal expression is one of the most important skills a person can have. A lot of people underestimate the importance of communication and well-formed expression.
Many people go to the gym 3-4 times a week and spend 1-2 hours per session so they can work on their body, but can barely form a sentence to save their life. Take the same approach to communication. Call it “verbal fitness” spend 1 hour a day, 4 times a week. Exercising and flexing your “verbal muscles”. Listen to complicated lectures on topics you know very little about, this will really challenge your mind and vocabulary, Read the financial and medical pages of the newspaper, see how many new words and jargon you can pic up.
Give “imaginary lectures” in your living room, pretend that you have an audience and give 10-15 minute speech on a topic you know a fair bit, doesn’t matter what is the topic, it can be fishing, golf, beer or whatever you want. Just make sure to express your knowledge, thoughts, ideas and opinions in the most sophisticated, challenging and stimulating way possible. But it all had to make sense don’t just trow big words around and see what happens.
Here are some of the books that are on my reading list, I think you may find some of them interesting:
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