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I Love Books

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It’s taken me a long time to figure it out, but I realize now that I adore reading.

For over 2 years now, I’ve been attempting to read a book every week. This year, for the first time, I’m going to succeed. I’m only now realizing what a tremendous impact a ton of reading has had on me over the past few years, and that I never want to go without this growth ever again.

It happened slowly. One day in early 2007, my girlfriend at the time offered it to me as a challenge. I started with an early Salman Rushdie book, then moved to The Search. I didn’t know what this was turning into, but I have a feeling now that it’s about developing a habit of completion.

The ability to compulsively finish whatever you started, all the time, whatever it happens to be, no matter its difficulty.

The way to do this is to look at the bigger picture. When you visualize having finished this book, or finished 52 books this year, you see your life from the future, reminiscing upon a completed goal. That helps you continue past any boredom you might be feeling now.

Eventually the reading itself, the larger goal of knowledge, becomes the real point. That takes time, but when you get there, and you realize how much all the books you’ve read have helped your critical thinking and developed your ideas, it becomes easy to make that decision to start every day by reading those 40 pages. This is likely the same when you look at weight you’ve lost by regularly working out or eating less, for example.

Then, as time goes on, this habit of completion can hopefully work itself into the rest of your life. Still working on that, but hey, we did finish a book, so I guess I’m part of the way there. :)

The other thing is that books contain pretty much all the knowledge and wisdom in the whole world– not just for today, but for all of history. It’s in an imperfect form right now, what with books being out of print and all the problems of limited distribution, etc., but over time, that’ll be solved. So I see books as direct conduits to the past, and the most reliable way that we have to receive important information from other people, living or dead.

When you think about it that way, why would you only ever restrict yourself to the knowledge of the people you happen to know? Even if you know a lot of people, you can grab a lot more out of life by reading a bunch of books. Give it a shot.

* Filed by Julien at 12:46 pm under book a week


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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13 Responses to “I Love Books”

  1. Jean Says:

    Books rock.

  2. Eugene Says:

    Great post, Julien.

    I haven’t read 52 books in a year, though I do try to read between 25 to 40 books per year.

    I love this point: “Eventually the reading itself, the larger goal of knowledge, becomes the real point.” I agree completely: I read because I seek to gain knowledge. When I began my photoblog, I titled it Erudite Expressions (click on my name to be taken there) because I had the intention of presenting the things I learned from books into the captions of my photographs. It has worked really well in the past.

    Over time, though, I’ve come to think of my reading habits as helping answer the question: “What makes you interesting?” Because reading good books matters. Thanks for this post.

  3. Gab Goldenberg Says:

    Makes two of us. I bought about a dozen books in the spring and have read a bit more than half, plus another 2 I got for free. N I just picked up another 2 online :D.

  4. Mandee Widrick Says:

    I like this challenge. I was just saying to someone earlier today that I need to begin reading more because it’s a valuable use of time. Thanks for the prompting. -Mandee

  5. CT Moore Says:

    Socrates believed that the written word was a threat to his memory. He wrote nothing down. We still revere him today.

    Robert E. Lee believed reading books and plays weakened the mind.

    I guess it comes down to what you’re reading. Indeed, Plato (Socrates’ student) saw bad art as having so much potential to corrupt the youth that he figured it was better to censor all of it.

    I think that when you’re reading something, you’re giving yourself over to someone else’s though process and/or imagination for a long period of time. So I guess it’s important that you choose who you’re going to spend your time with wisely.

    I haven’t read a book in months, mind you…

  6. Don Lafferty Says:

    I like accumulating the knowledge too, but I’m also a big fan of escaping into well-crafted fiction, where peeling back the author’s story reveals a deeper truth. Where flawed, broken down characters remind me of my brother, my mother, or myself.

    Yeah, I like to learn, but when an author sneaks up and makes me feel something – especially something I’d forgotten – maybe even repressed – I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

    But I’m not gonna lie to you. I can’t finish a shitty book.

  7. Kevin Says:

    I learned the value of reading early. That kind of comes naturally when you can’t read until your 11. I have dyslexia and even to this day I’m still a slow reader but I love reading. I also love audio books since I can consume them quicker than the written word.

    And as for Mr. CT Moore who hasn’t read a book in months and preached about corrupting your own thoughts, I say You can never corrupt your own thoughts only expand them because you learned something new. I hope you pick up a new book soon. I can recommend hundreds.

    Don – I agree with you too about fiction. However I do limit my fiction intake because it can be too engrossing.

  8. Jen Says:

    I’m horrible about reading. I probably only read a couple dozen, if that, a year, and most of it is mass market fiction or YA lit.

    That said, I still think reading is very important, and even trashy fiction can help broaden our minds or strengthen our thinking skills.

    I have been making a concerted effort to read more, but it’s not always easy to stay focused.

    (Should I now admit that I’m a librarian?)

  9. Gretchen Says:

    Eureka! I will get on that for 2010. What a brilliant idea. I also need practice finishing what I begin.

  10. Nelly Says:

    I love and adore books..i consider it a Life Style..not a hobby, nor something for leisure time, it’s a Life Style..when u love books, you carry one around with you, you make knowledge your number one sought for passion, you talk about them, you live and breath them..reading is a life style, just like sports and work.. keep up the reading :)

  11. Ina Says:

    I went to school to learn reading. After that I told my mom that I’d drop out of school. It didn’t take long for me to learn reading (my mom didn’t want to teach me, I could only read some words). And after that my reading started. I just couldn’t stop. I remember that my mom got angry with me after my birthdays, because i had finished reading all the books i got for my brithday in only a couple days.
    And I do have to admit that this affection never stopped. I cannot live without reading. Sometimes I can’t even fall asleep without.
    I cannot understand why some people wouldn’t read. It is one of the most important things in my life.

  12. Zilla Says:

    Dear Julien,

    I love your blog! Since I stumble you on someone else blog, I HAVE BEEN A STALKER SINCE THEN! Adore you.

    Fondly,
    Z – all the way from Singapore

  13. To Whom It May Concern Says:

    Reading Rainbow guys… reading rainbow.

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