Posted on October 8, 2017 in Role Model Things

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‘Books are the carriers of civilisation. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilisation would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world and lighthouses erected in the sea of time. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.’ – Barbara W. Tuchman

I was at a cocktail party and a gorgeous lady in an elegant dress, and charming smile seemed to be attracting a lot of attention. People came up to her, chatted with her and quickly drifted away for she had nothing intelligent to discuss. Then there was a short, bald and potbellied gent around whom the throng of guests seemed to linger forever. He was no celebrity, nor an influential person. He was just a well-speaking person who engaged people in conversation on different topics, from politics to sports to arts to literature.

I often meet people who tell me they have no time to read (books beyond their areas of work). Astonishing! In a way, they mean to say they have no time to develop themselves or to expand their intellect. Beauty fades, youth declines, strength wanes and wealth diminishes but knowledge once acquired will never let you be the same person and will catapult you to higher levels … always. Cut down spending on exotic food and expensive clothes if you have to, but never cut down on books.

Most accomplished and respected leaders in the world are voracious readers. Here’s what some of the greatest thinkers and wisest people the world has seen have to say about reading:

‘The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read.’ – Mark Twain

‘A meal will sustain you for a few hours, a good book will sustain you for life.’ – Gabrielle Zevin

‘You don’t have to burn books to destroy

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a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.’ – Ray Bradbury

‘It isn’t what the book costs. It’s what it will cost you if you don’t read it.’ – Jim Rohn

‘No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.’ – Confucius

Books give wings to the mind and flight to the imagination. They expand your horizon, sharpen your intellect and improve your ability to express and communicate, help you engage people in discussion, present you as a knowledgeable person and have a bearing on crafting your character, to list just a few benefits of reading good books. One small idea from a good book has the impact to change your life forever and the better informed you are the better choices you will make in life.

A newspaper a day, a magazine a week and reading a good book every month will transform you to a person people would want to emulate. In addition, the better informed you are the better choices you will make in life.

Here are a few tips to become a better reader

  • Define your purpose of reading: is it

for improving your language skills, for getting behind an idea, or is it just for recreation?

  • Choose a topic you love to read about. Some people, however, indiscriminately read whatever they lay their hands on
  • Choose a medium that interests you – digital or hard copy
  • Be a frequent visitor to a bookstore or a library even if it means for a few minutes only
  • Keep a dictionary close-by to look up for difficult words. That’s the only known way available to humanity to improve on the storehouse of vocabulary
  • Set a small goal of few pages initially and slowly increase the number over a period of time
  • Be selective about reading books and prefer those that elevate your thinking.

In the words of Harper Lee – ‘The book to read is not the one that thinks for you, but the one which makes you think.’

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