We live in a society that doesn't read. In 2013 a quarter of Americans didn’t read a single book
. Ouch. What a waste. (Author’s Note:
It’s interesting that the median number of books was age and community agnostic, but not income agnostic!)
Reading is a critical skill, but more importantly, it's an activity that expands the mind and increases creativity. Thirty minutes spent reading is distinctly more enjoyable and fulfilling than thirty minutes spent watching TV. Like exercise, if you'll spend thirty minutes a day reading, you'll experience tremendous growth over the course of a month, let alone a year!
Many will certainly claim that they read their Twitter feed, BuzzFeed, and their Facebook timelines, but that kind of reading isn't sufficient for expanding creativity and increasing intelligence.
Why don't we read? It's an excellent question. I actually think it has something to do with our education system. Just as we teach kids that education is for the classroom and fun is for home, we teach students that reading is just for school. Students are given a wide range of books to read over the course of their studies, some that they find to be interesting and others they find to be terribly boring. We're all different. We have different interests and subjects that we're curious about. I have zero interest in books like Pride and Prejudice, but I can knock out a 500 page World War II book in a matter of hours.
Reading isn't boring, some books just aren't of interest to us. As adults, our continued learning is completely up to us. We don't have to sign up for a class to learn or pay a teacher to sit in on a series of lectures, we just have to pick up a book. When we've finished that one, pick up another. Find book genres that you love, and keep reading those!
You likely will have a few subjects that you're interested in, but the beauty of books is that there are literally millions of them. That means that even if you're only interested in Business-Productivity and History-Korean War books, you'll have enough reading material to last decades.
If we want to move away from the unintelligible Internet comments and celebrity culture, we've got to grow a brain, namely, our own. Find thirty minutes a day, mark it off limits, curl up in your favorite chair, and read a book!