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On reading

On reading



I recently bought a Kindle.

I enjoy reading books, though I’ll be the first to admit I’ve not read as much in recent years as I want to (and should).

I do think that I have a complicated relationship with books. I like books, I enjoy good stories. But as a Literature major who had to do A LOT of book-reading for school, there is probably also a little part of me that equates reading to ‘work’, and that takes away the inherent joy of it slightly.

But I do want to get back into reading more, and so I bought a Kindle.

felipepelaquim-C7WtoP8gSNE-unsplash.thumb.jpg.5d1378264136a59dd4e6b81b481c52a7.jpgSome may tout the Kindles portability and ability to store tons of books, others might say it’s more eco-conscious. Those things may or may not be true. To be transparent, the primary and arguably only reason I decided to get a Kindle is very simple – I don’t have any more space to store books in my room.

I like books. I like the act of flipping pages. I like the tactile heft of a book (I do like a hardcover). But space is a finite resource.

Reading, I think, is important.

blaz-photo-zMRLZh40kms-unsplash.thumb.jpg.1848ad14723173a07d6582a0500d1780.jpgIn an age where we’re so exposed to visual media, reading has perhaps become slightly neglected. And as someone who works in the media business, I don’t for a minute have any illusions about this – people are just not reading as much as they used to, even as my colleagues and I continue to write articles.

The appeal of visual content is obvious – besides the fact that it’s ‘pretty’, I do believe that it’s an easier medium to consume. You can see, and therefore you don’t really have to think.

Reading is inherently more effortful. Besides just the obvious need to consume information in the form of words, you also have to make the second effort to then translate those words into visual images in your head (at least that’s what I think is being done). You have… to imagine.

christin-hume-k2Kcwkandwg-unsplash.thumb.jpg.b613bc067712c30b22dd425009db200a.jpgBut therein lies what’s appealing to me. I do think that the inherent effort that’s required is precisely what’s so important about reading. It is something you must do actively, as opposed to a video where you can consume it relatively passively. Whether it’s a book or an e-reader, whether a magazine, newspaper, or even an online article, you still have to set aside time and effort to read, and to think.

And I believe that matters. The act of reading impels you to partake in the story being told, and I think that makes use better thinkers, and hence better individuals. It certainly also benefits me professionally in trying to be a better storyteller.

You don’t have to read Shakespeare, or lengthy 800-page biographies. Even if it’s just 20 minutes at a time, a few times a week, that is at least an effortful decision. That’s how I convince myself that the Kindle was worth it.

If nothing else, if you’ve at least read all of the words that preceded this sentence, I commend your effort, and hope that you continue to read.

~ Desmond

Images from Unsplash


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On 4/12/2024 at 10:32 AM, dailydoseofcoffee said:

Why not a Kobo?

Ya lor. Kobo can borrow library book. Free one. Free thing is the best. 

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I have lost count the number of books in my Kindle.  I think should be hundreds in there. And occasionally some library books using Libby. I think I have another hundreds of physical old books which I recently have to give some away to clear space.

Reading, imo, is the most important activity that one can have in their life and will make a major difference in their career and their mileage in perspective of things. Nowadays,  more people are spending time on exercising, which is great for the physical aspect of the body but to truly exercise the mind, one has to read.

Most people underestimate the power of reading. It is not just about learning something, but that quiet moment of reading also allows the mind to stretch beyond the context of the book to gain other form of wisdom and question their current belief. It simply makes them a better critical thinker while gaining depth in perspective, ideas and wisdom.

Whenever a new leader or new manager asked me what they should do to improve themselves in their new role, I always tell them to start reading if they haven't yet.  A book a month is not hard; instead of playing games or scrolling through social media, one can use the time to read a chapter a day.  A simple 12 books a year and they would have gain more perspective compared to most people. In 10 years,  such a person would have read more then most people in their lifetime; with a mind that has more depth and perspective, giving them an edge over their peers in work performance and many life's important decisions. 

Start reading. It relaxes, make us focus and broaden our mind, and at the same time give us answers to some of the most difficult questions we have.  What is there not to love?

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