This last part of the Leaders are Readers series.
If we are to become better readers, we have to keep the benefits of reading in mind. There are many possible benefits to reading, but I will limit this post to four:
1. Increased knowledge is the most apparent benefit of reading knowledge. The more we read, the more we think and stretch out the borders of our understanding. Most people understand this but, ironically, it is the reason people do not read much. Why do I say that?
People tend to give up on reading because they don’t remember much of what they read. Therefore, if someone thinks more knowledge is the only (or even primary) reason to read, they will give up when they cannot recall what they read. But if we train ourselves to see increased knowledge as only one possible benefit of reading, we may be less tempted to give up when we can’t seem to recalls as much as we would like.
2. The second benefit of reading is better thinking – more well-rounded thinking. To reap this benefit, we have to read broadly. This means we read books, articles, journals, comics (yes, comics!), novels, biographies, etc.
There is an advantage to just about every type of reading, but not all have the same benefit. The graphic to the right is a good reminder of what tends to be the most beneficial ways to gain knowledge and wisdom. Evaluate your reading intake and what is the most helpful form of reading.
Before I move on to the next benefit, let me just put a plug in for reading old books. There is a great benefit to reading works that have passed the test of time.
C.S. Lewis agreed:
“Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or the only the old, I would advise him to read the old.”
3. According to some reports, reading can improve your health! And you get extra credit if you read while walking on the treadmill.
4. The last benefit to reading for this post is that it helps you love others. Love others?
I’m grateful to Tim Challies for pointing this benefit out via his blog. Challies points out that even though we tend to think of reading as a solitary pursuit, reading will help us to love others. He lists five ways in his blog, I encourage you to read his short article here.
I hope this series has been helpful to you and encouraged you to read more. If you want recommendations on what to read, I’m always willing to suggest something!