What are you reading?
In 2007, I set a goal to read one hundred books that year. That year, I read with enthusiasm every material I lay hands on regardless of field or category; I read different materials in the broad fields of personal development, business, religion and philosophy. I also read some novels, biographies and poems among others. Although I could not achieve my target that year, I enjoyed the challenge and learnt a lot along the way. During this period, I read the One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and John Spencer, Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad's Guide to Investing, Rich Dad; Poor Dad, the Pelican Brief by John Grisham and a host of other interesting books.
Why do I read? First, I believe reading makes you smart. I have not taken any IQ test recently to prove this, but I believe I am a much smarter person today because of the books I have read. This stems from the fact that, reading engages your mind in a very powerful way through imagination. Brian Tracy in 21 secrets of Self-Made Millionaires professes that 'reading is to mind what exercise is to the body'. Through reading you may come across new expressions and ideas that enrich your knowledge store. It is said that, 'readers are leaders'; this is true because reading is a mental exercise which improves leaders' decision making abilities and enables them to learn from other people. This scenario is akin to how regular exercise keeps athletes in good health condition.
Reading offers you an opportunity to meet with different people from distant or close locations, dead or alive. I met Mahatma Gandhi in The Story My Experience with Truth, I have encountered Walter Rodney through How Europe Underdeveloped Africa and I met with San Tzu in the Art of War all these books were published before the 17th century and I never would have met these remarkable authors if it had not been through their books. Recently, I have gotten to know Albert Ocran, Emmanuel Dei Tumi, Efo Kojo Mawugbe and hosts of other prominent people just through reading their works. My reading experiences are so engaging that I sometimes wish the books I read would never end. Often I read some books more than twice, making mental and written notes every time. I enjoy my imaginary conversation with these authors so much that, I just cannot let them leave even when the pages of the book are done.
Furthermore, books provide comfort and solace. Reading novels especially can be a form of entertainment and an escape from less-pleasurable life situations. This is a richer form of entertainment because it is immediately enjoyable and is more rewarding in the long term. Many of the lessons acquired from books would last you a life time; such is reading.
Lastly and perhaps more importantly, reading sparks creativity. I am particularly uplifted by the works of Daisaku Ikeda, and Mahatma Gandhi and I feel like a great CEO any time I encounter a book by Jim Collins in my readings. One may get more business and personal development ideas whilst reading than during conversation or watching a movie, although I admit these activities are also beneficial.
Sometimes, I get concerned that I am unable to apply most of what I read. But I am more troubled when I come across individuals, particularly young people who are not enthusiastic about reading. The fact is that, regardless of one's personal interest, there is a book or article out there for you.
I am currently reading No Excuses from Brian Tracy, what are you reading?
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