It was the summer of 2019, and as usual, I was feeling frustrated with my life. I was frustrated because I was dissatisfied with myself. I was frustrated because I had deep negative thoughts. I was frustrated because I had doubts, fears, and insecurities that completely immobilized me. And, this had been happening for months. But there was one thing for which I was happy- I had ordered a book, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne from Amazon, and it was going to be delivered that day. I got the book, read it in 10 days and things were never the same again.
The Secret radically changed my life. The book had the solution to all the problems I was facing. I learned the concept of positive thinking, learned about beliefs, learned about visualization, and learned that destiny is always in my hand and I can achieve anything I want. This book gave me hope to change my way of living, positivity to trust myself, and courage to face my fears.
All these didn’t happen in a week; it took time because it’s a gradual process. But after reading that book, I was never immobilized by my doubts or fears. I always felt that I could find a way no matter how difficult the situation is. And even today, you see, I am confident enough to tell you my story, however boring it is. I haven’t become a millionaire yet, but I am having fun in my life.
You already know why I am telling you this story. I want to make you realize that books can change your life and you should read books every day. I have met people who say- “I can’t read books because they are boring,” “I can’t focus while reading,” “I don’t have the inspiration to read books.” And I keep telling them the benefits of reading books and why they should read every day. I tell them that you are missing a great thing in your life if you are not reading books.
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Why are books important?
A book is the product of years of hard work by the authors; they put all their knowledge, creativity, and experiences into a book. They research for years to write just a few hundreds of pages. Sometimes all the lessons from their entire life are reflected in a single book. When you read good books- fiction or non-fiction- you get exposed to the strong mindset of the author; you get to know the opinion, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors of people in different circumstances of life.
Whatever you want to achieve, whatever you want to become- entrepreneur, artist, civil servant, employee, or a good person- books can always help in your pursuit. Books are like a sea of knowledge and wisdom; the more you dive in, the more you will experience the depth.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
-Charles William Eliot
If you observe the habits of all the great entrepreneurs, you will find the habit of reading books is common in them. Bill gates reads 50 books a year, Mark Zuckerberg reads at least two books a month, Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day, Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day, Arthur Blank reads two hours a day, and the list is uncountable. An HBR article mentions Phil Knight saying, “Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow.”
“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books.”
What are the benefits of reading books?
There are innumerable benefits of reading books. Before writing this article, I was thinking of writing ten benefits of reading, but when I started listing the points, there were so many that it stretched to twenty-one. So here I have listed the top 21 benefits of reading books which will make you realize why you should read every day-
1. Reduces stress
In 2009, a group of researchers in the USA conducted a study to measure the effects of yoga, humor and reading books on students’ stress levels. They found that reading for just 30 minutes lowered the feeling of distress as effectively as a yoga session of the same duration.
Nowadays, stress has become a common part of our life which can cause many serious health problems. We should do everything we can to reduce stress. And one of the best things we can do is to read books. When you read books, it helps you escape all the overthinking and worrying, and you tend to focus on the book, living in the present.
I have experienced this in my life; whenever I feel stressed, reading books helps me forget everything and become peaceful. So, whenever I have a tough day, I just grab a book.
2. Ensures good mental health
Do you know reading books is used as therapy? I am not joking! There is a therapy called Bibliotherapy where you are prescribed books to control your anxiety and depression. Bibliotherapy is found to be an effective treatment for depression.
Also, according to a study published in JAMA psychiatry in 2018, reading books can reduce the risk of dementia, a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory and ability to perform daily activities.
Studies have also shown that reading creates a positive impact on our mental health. Reading books is like an exercise to our brain. The more you read, the stronger your brain becomes.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”
– Joseph Addison
3. Expands imagination
Almost all fiction books describe the scenes through words, and when you read them, you are more likely to make a picture of the scenes in your mind. In other words, you would imagine what the author is describing. That’s the beauty of reading fiction books; you see everything through the eyes of the narrator, you tend to live a different life in a world created by the author. And the more you imagine, the better you become at imagination. This is one of the best benefits of reading books- it can strengthen your imaginative abilities.
“Books train your mind to imagination to think big.”
4. Increases knowledge
Every time you read- you fill your head with new information. Books contain a lot of information, mostly non-fiction books. When you read these books, you would grab all that the book has to offer, and you may use it later in your life. The information can be anything related to history, geography, technology, psychology, or philosophy.
For example, when I read The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg, I learned about a powerful thing- How to change habits. I learned that a habit consists of 4 elements- cue, routine, reward, and craving. And to change a habit, I need just to change the routine, keeping everything the same.
“Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.”
5. Improves concertation
In this fast-paced world crowded with social media platforms, the ability to concentrate has become rare. But at the same time ability to concentrate is highly valuable. So, if you develop your concentration abilities, you will have a super advantage.
Reading books can help you in this pursuit. When you read a book, you automatically concentrate on it; you try to grasp every word and sentence and find meaning in them. And the more you concentrate, the better you get at concentration. Hence it is advised that you should read books every day (at least one).
6. Improves Vocabulary
Learning new words from a dictionary or vocabulary list can’t be as effective as learning new words while reading a book. When you read books, you come across new words and phrases, learn their meanings, and understand the context in which they are used. The context of the words allows you to remember their meaning for a long time. The more you read, the more new words you will be exposed to, the stronger your vocabulary will be. A strong vocabulary further helps you in better expressing yourself either through speaking or writing.
7. Improves memory
When reading a book, you tend to remember the things you read- the names of different characters, backgrounds, ambitions, and intentions. You also have to exercise your memory to remember the events or information you have read, which helps you to strengthen your memory powers. And similar to concentration or imagination, the more you exercise your memory, the stronger your memory will be.
For example, I have read God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and this book has some complex names which I had to remember, and I was happy to do so because I knew this is a good exercise to my memory.
“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”
8. Acts as a source of enjoyment
Again, this is one of the best benefits of reading books. Fiction books are a great source of enjoyment. There are multiple book genres- humor, crime, romance, mystery, science-fiction, etc.- you can read anything according to your choice.
Whenever I lack enjoyment, I read books. They are cheaper than what they have to offer. I like humor books the most, and I laugh my heart out while reading them. Recently I read The Martian by Andy Weir, and those days were some of the best days of my life. I enjoyed it so much that I read it continuously for 5-6 hours without any break.
“No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.”
-Mary Wortley Montagu
9. Improves analytical skills
Books can help you to develop your analytical skills. When you read a book, let’s say a detective novel, you will find yourself trying to connect the pieces of evidence, you would analyze the suspects, and you would try to find the solution before the detective does that. This will improve your analytical skills.
When I was reading the book, Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, I felt that this story is helping me to exercise my brain. Throughout the story, I was using my analytical skills to analyze the suspects. Although I solved the case only after the detective solved it, but I enjoyed doing it.
10. Helps in Subconscious programming
Subconscious is the part of our mind that controls involuntary body functions like digestion, respiration, etc., and stores beliefs, habits, and experiences. The subconscious mind commands 95% of our life. So, if you can program your subconscious mind, you can control your life. Fortunately, reading helps us in subconscious programming. When we repeatedly read positive content, those concepts go into our subconscious and programs it.
This doesn’t happen in a day or a week; it takes time. I have experienced this in my life, I have been reading books for years, and now I find that my subconscious is positively programmed (thanks to all the self-help books). This is one of my favorite benefits of reading books
11. Upgrades writing skills
Join any writing class, and they would tell you to read books. I recently watched an interview with an author; he also suggested that we should read as many books as possible to develop our writing skills.
After reading dozens of books, I realized that the way I frame the sentences, the words I use, have all changed, upgrading my writing skills. We saw in the above section- reading improves vocabulary- which further aids in your writing. Writing skills are valuable because it is a way of expressing ourselves; the better we are at writing, the better our personality.
“Reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
12. Enhances speaking skills
Yes, this is also a reason why you should read books every day. When you continuously read books, you become better at that language. Your vocabulary improves, your writing skills develop, and hence your speaking skills are no exception. When you read books, you gain a lot of knowledge which gives you confidence while speaking. You can quote any line; you can tell the stories you read in the fiction books; you can speak about the concepts you read in self-help books- you would never run out of content. And when you have good things to say, you would automatically feel confident.
“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”
13. Helps you learn from others mistake
Eleanor Roosevelt said- “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” And reading books are a great way to learn from other’s mistakes because books contain the experiences of the authors. Read any biography, and you would get to know the mistakes people made, problems they faced, and how they solved them.
I have read the book Before You Startup by Pankaj Goyal, and it helped me know what mistakes the author had committed in the entrepreneurship journey and why he failed.
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.”
14. Helps you live a deep life
Living a deep life means living consciously, being wise, and understanding the difference between good and evil.
When you read different books, analyze different characters and their stories, and digest lessons from self-help books, you would tend to have a high consciousness. You would understand what winners do and what separates them from losers. You would be able to judge what is wrong and what is right. And above all, you would know what the importance of a deep life is. Books are like a well of wisdom, and reading is dipping your bucket and pulling out the wisdom from the well.
“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.”
15. Develops empathy
Empathy, the ability to understand the feelings and emotions of others, is a crucial need in building and maintaining social relationships. A research conducted in October 2013 has shown that reading fiction books can improve your ability to empathize. They called this ability the Theory of Mind.
When you read fiction books, you would see the world from a different person’s perspective. You would understand how others see the same thing in a different way. You would learn to respect others’ opinions, and above all, you would develop an understanding of others.
This benefit of reading books is crucial for maintaining relationships because when you understand people, there would be no fights but only love. When I was reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, I got to see the world through the eyes of a lady called Tris; this helped me understand how females are, what they feel, and how they see different things.
16. Makes you a good person
A story has a protagonist and an antagonist. Most of the time, you would be motivated to be the protagonist doing good things- like helping others, being kind to others, living with honesty, celebrating others’ success, etc. You would hate the antagonist who is unethical.
For example, Harry Potter books have helped me to be a good person. Every character of the book has some lessons to offer. I learned how to be humble, kind, and brave from Harry Potter; I learned to accept everything life throws and give my best from Dumbledore; I learned that reading books could save my life from Hermione.
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
17. Helps you make good habits
A good lifestyle is always the first requirement for having a peaceful life. But I have seen people who have messed their life with bad habits like- sleeping late at night, smoking, drinking, eating junk foods.
Self-help books can help you to build good habits and practices, which are highly valuable. Reading books like The Power of Habits, The 5 am Club can help you make good habits- waking up early in the morning, working with concentration, and sleeping properly. Books like Ikigai can help you to understand the importance of yoga and eating vegetables. Books like Power of Positive Thinking can inspire you to be spiritual.
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
18. Increases Productivity
In this world of social media and mobile notifications, we get very easily distracted every time our phone beeps. When we get distracted, our concentration decreases, and hence our productivity also becomes less. The good news is books can substantially increase your productivity. Productivity is related to your ability to focus; the more the intensity of focus, the more your productivity will be. Reading any book can improve your ability to focus; hence it can assist you to be more productive. Moreover, there are books like Deep Work that can support you to understand the importance of concentrated work and helps you achieve more of such work.
19. Makes you positive and confident
Books contain excellent lessons which fill your mind with positivity and make you confident. I have noticed most fiction books have a character who will be highly confident; when you read the story, you would want to be like them. You would develop the desire to be confident and unknowingly act like the character.
Self-help books are the sea of positivity; every word can make you more positive and confident. For example, after reading the book Atomic Habits, I can’t explain to you how confident I was feeling. That confidence pushed me to take risks and work harder, for which I still feel happy.
20. Makes you happy
We all want to be happy in life. Who else wants to be sad? Nobody. But our daily habits don’t allow us to be happy. This is another benefit of reading books; it has the capability to give you happiness. If you are reading a fiction book, it will be a source of enjoyment; you would live an imaginary life for a few days, forgetting your worries and fears, getting lost in the adventure. A self-help book can assist you to be a better person, develop good habits, and chase your goal so that you live a happy life.
“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.”
21. Makes you successful
After all, this is all we want, is not it? We want success, in career, in relationships, in life. The powerful of all the benefits of reading books- Books can make you successful. Reading books is one of the best habits you can build, which will force you to push your limits, be confident, optimistic, brave, face your fears, accept everything, and succeed in life.
“Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.”
Reading books is one of the best habits you can build because books have some magic that can change your life. Books can help you reduce your stress, ensure good mental health, expand your imagination, increase knowledge, improve concentration, memory, and vocabulary, act as a source of enjoyment, improve analytical skills, program your subconscious mind, enhance your writing and speaking skills, learn from others’ mistakes, live a deep life, develop empathy, be a good person, have good habits, increase your productivity, be positive, confident, happy and at the end successful.
“It is books that are the key to the wide world; if you can’t do anything else, read all that you can.”
These were the top 21 benefits of reading books, and I hope now you understand why you should read every day. Life is short; make it colorful by reading books. Now, what are you waiting for? Go and grab a book.