Reading Changed My Life
Books have changed my life beyond recognition. The day I started to read again was the day my life became ten times richer. It opened up new worlds and ideas I never thought possible.
There is an inbuilt (probably from school) thought pattern that books must be finished. If you don’t, there is a sense of failure. This is mindset often stops people from picking up a book. The aim is to build a reading habit by reading anything and everything. If a book is not speaking to you, then don't be afraid to drop it and try something else – the key is to keep reading and build a daily habit.
By the age of 30 I had only read a handful of books – those forced upon me at school and various sporting autobiographies. From somewhere I built a belief that there was no point in reading because I forgot most of the text. I felt that not being able to remember the words verbatim meant I was stupid. To protect my weakness I took the problem out of the equation. I stopped reading. Problem solved!
How sad is it that I harbored this world-shrinking view for years? I was proud of this ‘fact’ and would happily spout this falsehood whenever questioned about why I didn’t read. Thankfully, in my early thirties I picked up a book, read it and enjoyed it. I couldn’t remember most of it, but I didn’t care. I was less afraid that my lack of memory would be rumbled.
The very next book I read revealed a startling truth: most people only retain 20% of what they read. WOW – I was not stupid after all, it was perfectly normal. But I had kept a belief for almost 15 years that put a lid on my world. Now that is stupid.
So I started to read again, and to this day and for the rest of my days I will never stop.
Seth Godin, the marketing genius, summed it up perfectly in a recent podcast with Tim Ferriss when he said –
Books are still the most amazing value. Just imagine that for £10 you can purchase something that might change your world for the better? This has to be one of the best value products on Earth.
When you quit alcohol and the fog of hangovers lifts, there is often a newfound motivation to learn and live. Why not use this vitality to read? Or if reading is not your thing, download an audio book. There are now millions of titles to choose from.
Below are a few of my favourite books. Please let me know if you have any recommendations.