Growth Through Books

What if you invested a few minutes of your time learning about a new topic. Invested a few minutes learning how to push yourself past your current limits? Would it be worth the time?

Books allow you to take years of research and knowledge and compress them into a few hundred pages that can be consumed in a short period of time. You can learn a new skill, learn a new perspective, learn a new technique relatively quickly. According to the Pew Research Center, twenty-four percent of American’s don’t even read a book in a single year. The rest read an average of four books a year.

The average person reads about 200 words per minute. I used to read at 172 words per minute, before I took a speed reading course. According to Amazon, the average book length is 64,000 words. Could you allocate ten minutes out of your day for reading? Just ten minutes?

365 days per year x 10 minutes a day = 3650 minutes a year

200 words per minute x 3650 minutes per year = 730,000 words per year

730,000 words per year / 64,000 words per book = 11.4 books per year

But what is it in for me? Why should I invest ten minutes a day?

Increased perspective

Everyone has beliefs. Something that they believe as fact or true. Sometimes those facts are not correct though. Books can offer a new perspective. Show you things as a different angle. Broaden your horizon. They can also introduce brand new perspectives you haven’t encountered before. You are then able to use the author’s experience to quickly learn about it without having to fully experience it yourself. When it comes time to make a decision, having a broader perspective allows us to have more tools in our belt to try and make a better decision.

Improved thinking

Improved thinking ties in with the previous benefit. As you take in new information, you have to process it. Think about it. If it is a fiction book, you may spend time thinking about what happens next or trying to figure it out.

Reduced stress

When you read, you are removed from your environment. You are focused on the book and not what is going on in life. It is like a mini vacation. It is hard to concentrate on reading and everything else that is going on at the same time. According to a 2009 study by the University of Sussex, reading for just six minutes can reduce stress by 68%.

Reduced anxiety and depression

People will sometimes feel like they have lost control in their life. With a growth type book, you are taking control by working on improving an area. It is a foothold in your life that you can control. This small bit of control can help people who might be feeling anxiety or depression. If it is a fiction book, at some point there is some kind of conflict. Something happens that the main character needs to overcome. The journey of the character can help the reader work through a struggle of their own.

Improved focus

This one piggy backs on the previous two. When we read, we need to focus our attention on the page we are reading. As we flip to the next page, we need to remember what we read to continue the story to the next page. If our brain is thinking about something and trying to read, it is like someone talking to us while we are trying to read. It is challenging to do both well.

Improved vocab and writing skills

As you continue to read, you’ll come across new words regularly. I do most my reading on a tablet. I’m frequently selecting a word to see the definition of the word. When your vocabulary expands, it adds more possible words for when you write. In addition, you are experiencing many different writing styles and techniques that you can later use.

Social aspect

Every time I talk to someone who as read a book that I’ve read, I’m so surprised. It brings in a common bond. Something to talk about. Did you agree or disagree? Why do you think that happened? Did you know that was going to happen? I feel it is a deeper insight into the other person. I feel so many people know each other on a surface level. Usually when someone picks up a book, there is a reason why they picked up that book. You have the opportunity hear their back story. You see their thought process that led to that decision.

If you have children, the more we read to our children, the more likely they will pick up their own book to start reading.

Buying alternative

Reading doesn’t have to be expensive. I know this is going to sound really old, but there is the library for books. I almost never read a physical book anymore, but our library partners with Axis 360 and Hoopla Digital. These companies allow for digital check out of books, audio books, music, and movies.

Anna and I also participate in Google Opinion Rewards. These are surveys from Google about places you’ve been, likes/dislikes, and preferences. You are then credited up to a dollar for your opinions. I know it sounds like a scheme, but it isn’t. I’ve been participating since 2015. When I receive credit, I use that to purchase books after seeing if the library has them first.

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All over Colorado, we have these book lending boxes. They are green boxes where people can leave a book/take a book. Anna has found several interesting books in there.

Finally, there is the tried and true hand me down method. I love hand me downs because of the social reason talked about earlier. It gives you an opportunity to discuss the book with someone else.

I’d like to encourage you to allocate ten minutes a day. Ten minutes towards reading. Ten minutes to grow yourself. Ten minutes to have fun.

Adam


I chose to read this book because I want to be a leader. I want to help motivate people to achieve their goals, which is also one of the reasons I started this blog. I previously read Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win and enjoyed the how they broke the topics down into simple to understand areas that I could implement.

Fun:

Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

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I always read a fun book before I go to bed and a growth book during the day. Being in IT, so many people say the answer is 42 when you ask a question. It usually gets a chuckle. I decided I wanted to find out the story behind the 42. I had seen the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie a few times, but the movie isn’t always true to the book. This is the third book in the series.

What books are you reading?

 
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