The more I learn about the lives of great people, the more I know that many of them are voracious readers. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are two contemporary examples. My favorite example, though, is Theodore Roosevelt (TR).
While he was at the White House, TR read at least one book a day, even when he was busy. If he had no event at night, he could read one or two more books. Not only that, he had a strong memory of what he had read. Often he could quote passages.
With TR, reading had become a habit since his youth. Whether he was with the cowboys or soldiers, his favorite pastime was reading. This habit gave him an immense knowledge and a broad perspective. It helped him become the effective person he was.
Why You Should Become a Voracious Reader
There are many benefits you can get by being an avid reader. Here are some of them (I focus on non-fiction books here):
- It broadens your perspective.
Reading helps you see the world from a new perspective. Among other things, it helps you foresee new opportunities and threats. You will also be able to assess a situation more accurately.
- It helps you be more creative.
By feeding your mind with many different ideas, there is a good chance that your various thoughts will cross-pollinate and produce fresh ideas. You will become more creative as a result.
- It relaxes your mind.
TR said that reading is “a pure imaginative therapy.” Immersing yourself in a good book is like watching a good movie. It can take you to new worlds. Such an experience is entertaining and relaxing for your mind.
- It gives you a deeper appreciation of the world.
Sometimes we don’t appreciate something because we don’t know how wonderful it actually is. Reading can give you a deeper understanding of the world around you which, in turn, will grow your appreciation of it.
- It enriches your conversational repertoire.
Knowing more about the world around you means having more topics to converse with. That will help you connect with different kinds of people.
How to Become a Voracious Reader
Now that we have seen the benefits of becoming an avid reader, here are some ways to become one:
- Build your curiosity.
If you are curious, you don’t need to push yourself to read. Instead, you will want to read because it will satisfy your curiosity. To build your curiosity, be aware that there are many interesting things in this world that you don’t know. Your life will be much more exciting if you find them. Even seemingly boring things have interesting sides if you dig deep enough.
- Teach yourself to read in small sips as well as in long swallows.
This advice comes from Stephen King in On Writing. Whenever you have idle time, whether long or short, fill it with reading. Waiting in the doctor’s office could be a good time to read, so is waiting to board your plane. It means that you should always take a book with you. Fortunately, that’s easy to do these days: simply put e-books into your tablet or smartphone and you are set.
- Read diversely.
Reading diversely prevents you from getting bored because you constantly enter new worlds. The sense of wonder will motivate you to read more.
- Immerse yourself in your reading.
When you are reading, visualize what you read. Imagine being in the world. TR was so immersed in his reading that he couldn’t even hear his name being called. When you achieve this level, reading will become a flow. It will become a “pure imaginative therapy.” You will end up wanting more of it.
Do you have tips on becoming a voracious reader? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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