I Don’t Like To Read

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Have you ever said or thought, “I don’t like to read”?  I know I have.  I thought that and repeated it often for years and years.  I did not start that way.  As a young boy I used to enjoy reading and going to the library with my mom or grandma, but somewhere along the way that changed.  As I went further and further into my schooling and education I lost my enthusiasm for reading.  By the time I graduated college I declared, “I will never read another book again.”  Can you relate to this at all?

It has been my observation that the majority of adult Americans think and act like this.  Some of the statistics at http://www.statisticbrain.com/reading-statistics/ support this observation:

56% of young people read 10 books per year

33% of US high school graduates will never read another book after high school

42% of college graduates will never read another book after college

80% of US families do not even buy one book per year

70% of adults have not been in a book store in the past five years

Those are some pretty convicting statistics, but even with knowing things like that I still did not instantly become a reader.  The odds are pretty good that most everyone who reads this blog post does not consider their self a “reader”.  A mentor of mine shared a statement that was very convicting.

Think about it.  There are BILLIONS of people who do not know how to read who would give so much to have the ability to read and transfer information through written word, but millions and millions of adult Americans waste this incredible gift we have been given because of our freedom, wealth, and education we enjoy in America.

I think it is pretty safe to say that way too many Americans are squandering an incredible gift.  Why is that?  I believe there are two reasons.

#1 The education system beats the enjoyment of reading and learning out of us.

Now I realize many of you reading this are probably involved in the education system.  I was too.  I was a teacher and a coach at a college preparatory school for six year.  The issue is not education nor is it educators.  We need education and educators.  The issue is the education system.  I think most everyone would agree that our education system could use some improvement.  As a former teacher I have seen myself and so many other former colleagues leave that profession due to their frustrations with the system.  Think about how 56% of young people read 10 books per year, but by the time the GRADUATE high school 33% of them will NEVER READ ANOTHER BOOK AGAIN!

#2 We are not reading things we are interested in.

By the time I graduated college I associated reading with studying and essay writing.  It took three years from the time I graduated college until my wife finally got me to read a book.  Let me tell you something about that one book.  It changed my life.  It helped me see and understand something profound.

The book that completely changed my life was Positive Impact by Gregory Scott Reid.  It is an incredibly short easy read.  Most people can read it cover to cover in less than two hours.  I learned many life changing principles from that book, but one important lesson I learned was reading could help me get where I wanted in life.  The key is reading the right kinds of books.

Did you know the average CEO reads ONE BOOK PER WEEK?   That sounds like a lot to most people, but there is nothing average about being a CEO.  In the professional arena being a CEO is an incredible accomplishment.  One simple truth I have known for a long time is Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.  Now I am not suggesting you should start reading one book per week (although that would greatly change and improve your life).  However I am suggesting that you start moving towards that goal.

LeadersAreReaders

Why do CEOs and other successful people read so much?  It is a simple answer.  We understand that reading will help us get where we want to be in life.  Reading GOOD BOOKS is one of the fastest ways to gain wisdom and knowledge.  Think about it.  That author may have dedicated 10 or more years of his or her life to learning and researching the material in a book he or she writes.  You and I can gain the benefit of all that wisdom and experience in just a few hours of our time to read that book.  That is an awesome exchange.

Once I understood that reading could help me get where I wanted to be in life I quickly became a voracious reader.  I have been averaging one book per month for the past six years.  It has blessed and enriched my life in so many areas.  Almost anything you read in any of my blog posts is a result of knowledge and wisdom I gained from other authors and leaders.  I love when I am mentoring a leader and they read a book only to come back to me and say, “That is where you learned that idea you always talk about.”

Because I made the simple decision to read good books regularly I have become a better husband to my wife.  I know I will be a way better father.  I am in better physical health.  I have a much stronger faith.  I have better friendships.  My wife and I have used our knowledge and wisdom through reading to build a business that literally pays us 12 times my former teaching and coaching salary.  Those are some significant results.  My question for you is this, “What if you adopted the simple discipline of reading 10 pages per day EVERY day and you looked three to five years from now and you were exactly where you want to be in life?  Would it be worth the 10 minutes per day it requires to read just 10 pages per day?”  It is easy to do and easy not to do.  The decision is yours.

Question: What is the most impactful book you have ever read?  Comment below

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “I Don’t Like To Read

  1. I can’t even fathom the notion of not reading. Nor can I begin to answer your question, simply because so many books have impacted my life throughout the years. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, The World According to Garp, The Time Machine, Rebecca, Lonesome Dove….just not enough space to list the books that live on in my memory and my heart.

    I am fortunate that my parents never discouraged my addiction to reading, despite endless books dropped in bath water, left outside next to the swings, or cluttering every surface in my already messy bedroom. Nobody told me it wasn’t wise to roller skate and read at the same time. It wasn’t, but I don’t regret the resulting scar because it happened during a fantastic passage that I can still recite. Nobody listened when my teachers sent home terse notes about how I really needed to refrain from reading ahead. (I had a bad habit of devouring the year’s reading assignments within the first two weeks of classes resuming.)

    I was laid off from a solid, well-paying job several years ago, and was thrown back into a nearly flatlining job market. Nobody responded to applications. I floundered, but then I realized I finally had time to write again, something I hadn’t attempted since high school.

    With all that time on my hands, when I wasn’t reading, when I wasn’t scouring the job sites for work, I finally accomplished something I had always dreamed about: I wrote a book. I got it published. People liked it. I finally got another job. Not so solid. Not so well-paying. But it gave me time to…write another book. Get it published. People liked it.

    Then I wrote another. And another is on my editor’s desk. I’m with small presses now as I figure out my next step, but I’m working toward bigger and better writing goals as I hone my craft. I blame it all on a lifetime of reading. And I can’t wait to see what gets added to my bookshelves in the years to come!

  2. To date the most impactful books I’ve read are. “The Travelers Gift”, “This Momentary Marriage”. Love both of those books.

    I can also relate well to this post. I’m in that area now where I’m trying to pick up books and read them and somewhere get uninterested. But I’m getting some momentum. 10 pages per day is not all that hard and it’s a very reachable goal. Even if it takes 30 minutes a day, like it does for me, then that’s still a realistic goal.

    Thanks for bringing up some points that I haven’t really thought of. I haven’t treated my reading ability like a gift, like something I got the opportunity to learn to do. Most people don’t. It gives me a new outlook toward how I will treat that gift. Thanks!

  3. I love this post Jesse. The most impactful book that I’ve read to date is “The Noticer Returns” by Andy Andrews.

    One thing though, I believe there’s a typo in the first quote. Just a heads up.

    Thank you for all that you continue to do.