Last Monday we had a poll asking the readers whether or not they still consider reading books to be necessary for personal and professional success. Over 250 people voted, and the results are illustrated in the image below:
Here is one from Alex Iskold (Alex is a really successful web entrepreneur):
Reading books is important because information consumed via a book is different from the one online. Book consumption is systematical and complete. The online consumption is search-driven, interruptable and overall attention-deprived.
The whole notion that you can understand the world in byte-size chunks without giving it deep thought is pretty broken, in my opinion.
Here is another one from Madeline:
Reading books for “personal and professional success” is more important now than ever for (in my mind) one main reason: empathy.
It’s so easy to read a tidbit of information and judge others quickly. I think it’s important, now more than ever, that we try to understand other viewpoints: cultural, business, religious, and more.
Reading a book written by a person who has a completely different viewpoint and set of circumstances, and feeling by the end of the book that you understand where they are coming from and why they would act the way they did is a priceless, mind-opening experience.
And I can’t think of another way to accomplish it, apart from having good friends who can impart it to us – which I’m guessing most of us don’t.
Examples of people I’ve learned to relate to by books alone:
– orthodox Mormons
– mothers of stillborn children
– mother of serial killer
– someone living in a communist country
– someone living in a violent relationship
I don’t know any of the above except through books, but I feel I can empathize, even though I may not truly understand or agree.
Even the people who answered “No, books are not necessary” pretty much agreed that books have their value.
So reading books is important and necessary, but are you reading them?
I can speak for myself and say that I read much less than what I feel I should. Despite setting ambitious goals at the beginning of every year, I always end up reading 12 or so books, so one book every month.
This is what I consider to be the very minimum number of books that anyone should read. People that are top of their game usually read a lot more, say 30 or even 40 books every year.
This year I am aiming for 20 books. We will see how it goes.
What about you. Are you reading how much you think you should? If not, why not?