Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You’ll Ever Have Time to Read

top-10-psychology-books-elearning-professional-readAn overstuffed bookcase (or e-reader) says good things about your mind.

Lifelong learning will help you be happier, earn more, and even stay healthier, experts say. Plus, plenty of the smartest names in the business, from Bill Gates to Elon Musk, insist that the best way to get smarter is to read. So what do you do? You go out and buy books, lots of them.

But life is busy, and intentions are one thing, actions another. Soon you find your shelves (or e-reader) overflowing with titles you intend to read one day, or books you flipped through once but then abandoned. Is this a disaster for your project to become a smarter, wiser person?

If you never actually get around to reading any books, then yes. You might want to read up on tricks to squeeze more reading into your hectic life and why it pays to commit a few hours every week to learning. But if it’s simply that your book reading in no way keeps pace with your book buying, I have good news for you (and for me; I definitely fall into this category): Your overstuffed library isn’t a sign of failure or ignorance, it’s a badge of honor.

Why you need an “anti-library”

That’s the argument author and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes in his bestseller The Black Swan. Perpetually fascinating blog Brain Pickings dug up and highlighted the section in a particularly lovely post. Taleb kicks off his musings with an anecdote about the legendary library of Italian writer Umberto Eco, which contained a jaw-dropping 30,000 volumes.

Did Eco actually read all those books? Of course not, but that wasn’t the point of surrounding himself with so much potential but as-yet-unrealized knowledge. By providing a constant reminder of all the things he didn’t know, Eco’s library kept him intellectually hungry and perpetually curious. An ever-growing collection of books you haven’t yet read can do the same for you, Taleb writes:

A private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

An anti-library is a powerful reminder of your limitations — the vast quantity of things you don’t know, half-know, or will one day realize you’re wrong about. By living with that reminder daily you can nudge yourself toward the kind of intellectual humility that improves decision-making and drives learning.

“People don’t walk around with anti-résumés telling you what they have not studied or experienced (it’s the job of their competitors to do that), but it would be nice if they did,” Taleb claims.

Why? Perhaps because it is a well-known psychological fact that it’s the most incompetent who are the most confident of their abilities and the most intelligent who are full of doubt. (Really. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect.) It’s equally well established that the more readily you admit you don’t know things, the faster you learn.

So stop beating yourself up for buying too many books or for having a to-read list that you could never get through in three lifetimes. All those books you haven’t read are indeed a sign of your ignorance. But if you know how ignorant you are, you’re way ahead of the vast majority of other people.

This article was posted on INC. by

There are two ways to read, but one is useless

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Reading is telepathy, and a book is the most powerful technology invented.

Homer, Shakespeare, Voltaire, Flaubert, Tolstoy, Woolf, Hemingway—these are names without a living body. We can’t talk to them, nor touch them, but their thoughts are immortalized through the written word.

Aristotle’s logic, Kepler’s astronomy, Newton’s physics, Darwin’s biology, Wittgenstein’s philosophy—these are memes without living originators. They no longer champion their ideas, and yet, we still talk about them.

Without books, humans would never have escaped the boundaries of space and time. Each new generation would have had to learn the realities of life for themselves rather than having the luxury to build on the past; knowledge accumulation would have quickly dimmed towards an asymptote.

Everything that we value in the modern world has its root in an invention of writing. Everything that we have accomplished has come from reading.

Even on an individual level, one of the most effective ways to learn about the world is to dip your toes into the wisdom of the past. Instead of spending your life figuring out how the mind works, you can just seek out the experience of someone who already knows. Rather deducing the laws of nature yourself, you can simply refer to an existing body of work.

Even beyond that, reading is a joy. It’s a touch of growth, it’s a beacon of inspiration, and it’s source of connection. We are how we spend our time, and we become what we consume. It only makes sense, then, that what we read informs how we see the world.

That said, there is more to reading than just whispering words in our mind. It’s about mindset, too. The way you read plays a major role in what you take away. It shapes what you pay attention to and how you evolve.

Unfortunately, I think this part of the equation is often neglected.

Is it about right or wrong?

Most of us learn to read in school, and when we do, it’s for one of two reasons: to memorize or to critique—both with the intent of choosing right or wrong.

When we memorize out of a textbook, the goal is essentially to score well on tests. Even if we don’t directly memorize word for word, the aim is still to absorb all the details in one defined area so that we can write an exam. Anything outside of that matters very little for the end result.

Similarly, when we critique something, say, like a piece of literature or a historical decision, our goal is to establish distinctions between what is right and what is wrong, and we have to ensure that everything we read fits into a predefined box so that we can make a strong case.

This works in a school, and it teaches in its own way, but unfortunately, when reading in the real world, this kind of mindset cheats us out of knowledge.

I know people who have gone through this process, been seduced by it, and then feel that if they can’t remember or memorize all they read, they are wasting their time, hence discouraging them from further reading.

I also know people—and these people are abundant on the internet—that can’t help but read everything with a critical lens. They’re so intent on finding every little fault in something that they always miss the larger point. They dismiss anything that doesn’t align with their existing model of reality, and they forget to pay attention to what lies beyond black and white.

Now, having the focus to absorb what you need is critical and so is having a filter in place to detect if what you’re reading is factually wrong.

That said, anytime you read something with the mindset that you are there to extract what is right and what is wrong, you are by default limiting how much you can get out of a particular piece of writing. You’re boxing an experience that has many dimensions into just two.

One of the things that becomes increasingly clear to anybody that reads a lot is that, if you were to only read books that you agree with a 100% or those that are worth memorizing in full, you would soon run out of options.

Reading isn’t about jumping at details. It’s about incorporating a perspective.

The real joy of reading

Where, then, is perspective? If we shouldn’t recall all we consume, nor wear a lens of criticism, where exactly does the value in reading lie?

To answer that, we have to dissect why we read in the first place, and that reason is actually relatively simple—we read to understand.

You might be reading a modern-day comedy or a Russian classic. You could be going through the latest pop-psychology volume or an old Roman emperor’s notebook. Either way, you’re trying to put yourself in a different mode of reality so that you can absorb some of what the writer is telling you.

In this case, the only filter worth having is the one that distinguishes between what is relevant and what is not; what matters and what doesn’t.

When you filter by right or wrong, not only are trying to paint a whole with the smaller component of its parts, but you’re also limiting what you understand. Who is to say that there isn’t a lesson in what is wrong? Or more importantly, who is to say that what you assume to be right or wrong is just a current bias that, one day, you will come to readjust?

Any time I reread a book that has been important to me in the past, I always come back with new lessons. Most books contain more than one idea, and they say different things in different places.

I can count many instances where I have arrogantly dismissed something that I thought I knew, or that didn’t make sense to me, or that I judged prematurely—assuming knowledge of right and wrong—only to learn that with a new mindset and a sharper and more nuanced point of view, that something contained profound wisdom.

The better questions to ask are always: What is right about this? Even if this isn’t what I believe or value or see as true, why does someone else believe it?

The point of reading isn’t to memorize, and it’s certainly not to critique. It’s to absorb and filter with an open mind—to find the right thing at the right time so that you can improve and update your existing model of reality rather than mold whatever you’re reading to fit into it as it is.

The beauty of this mindset is that you don’t actually need to filter this consciously. You just need to decide that it’s okay not to agree, and it’s fine to overlook what doesn’t make sense. From there, your mind will automatically filter for what is relevant and what is not.

When it does, you’ll know—it’ll change you in a way memorization can’t.

The takeaway

Reading isn’t just a delightful hobby. If done well, it’s also a virtue. It teaches you more than just how to live and what to do; it teaches you how to see.

By diving into the minds of some of the greatest thinkers and storytellers, it moves us into realms of reality that would otherwise stay unknown to us. We often finish a good book with a new pair of eyes, and we can then use these eyes to create a better world around us, if we so choose.

That said, in order for a book to have this effect, we do also have to do our part. We have come in with the correct mindset, and we have to put ourselves in a perceptual state that is okay with fine-tuning itself.

Contrary to how most of us learn to read, the process isn’t limited to the two simple dimensions of extracting right and wrong. And every time we approach it with this mentality, we cheat ourselves out of a more nuanced lens of understanding; we limit retention.

Every word, every sentence, and every paragraph of a good piece of writing has the potential to teach you something. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be selective about what you read or that you can’t give up on something that isn’t speaking to you. What it means is that for something to move you, you have to be ready to be moved.

If you come in with an open mind, you might actually leave with something in it. If you filter for relevancy and understanding, that’s what you will find, and that’s when you will truly capture the joys of the written form.

This post was originally published on Medium.

Benefits Of Reading Habit

Why You Should Read Every Day

When was the last time you read a book or an interesting article? Do your daily reading habits end ups with a tweet on twitter, daily posts on Facebook, updating your Whatsapp Status, or snapping hole day on Snapchat ??? If you’re one of the countless people who doesn’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out many precious things that can Change your life and way of thinking and be looking world with a different eye. Reading has a significant number of benefits& some are stated below:

1. Mental Health.

Reading happens when we mix different neurological functions, such as sight, language comprehension, and associative learning, and derive a message from letters and words. To top it off, reading prompts us to go as slow as we need to so that we can wrap our minds around the story and ask questions about it, really utilizing our mental capacity. All of this keeps the mind sharp, the wit quick, and preserves memory.Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy, so the phrase “use it or lose it” is particularly apt when it comes to your mind.

2. Reduces Stress 

I don’t know how it works, but after enough time of reading, my mind always feels upgraded. Programming our minds by moving consciously into the flow state of another wise person is powerful.No matter how much stress have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story. A well-written novel can transport you to other realms, while an engaging article will distract you and keep you in the present moment, letting tensions drain away and allowing you to relax.

 

3.Knowledge

Have you ever thought why we Learn new things and still cannot forget the previously learned things? our brains are designed to do get more and more knowledge. Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face

Apparently, these statistics don’t apply to the busiest and most successful people.

Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day
Mark Cuban reads 3 hours a day
Bill Gates reads 50 books a year

now you would be thinking why these people do reading when they have such a big empire to run..!! but the thing is they read because they want to gain more and more Knowledge and things that are changing lives around the world. They want to be updated about what is happening in other corners of world and while reading they can put some efforts and make difference

4.Vocabulary Expansion

Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession, and knowing that you can speak to higher-ups with self-confidence can be an enormous boost to your self-esteem. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly than those with smaller vocabularies and lack of awareness of literature, scientific breakthroughs, and global events. Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.

5.Memory Improvement & Analytical Thinking Skills

Technology can’t change our lives, only we can. When we take a perfect technology like books and wield them for good, we’ll build habits that can change our lives, lift up those around us, or even gain the secrets necessary to create new types of perfect technology. Mystery novels books which make have you sitting on the edge of the seat till the last page. When you spend time thinking over everything that happens, trying to understand the plot, it improves your Analytical & Memory skills automatically. You should always have an opportunity to discuss the book with others, you’ll be able to state your opinions clearly, as you’ve taken the time to really consider all the aspects involved.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
― William Styron

6.Improved Focus and Concentration

Focusing can be difficult and gadgets have a tendency to reduce concentration. A book, on the other hand, does the opposite and helps you increase your concentration. When you read a book, all of your attention is focused on the story—the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing. Try reading for 15-20 minutes before work (i.e. on your morning commute, if you take public transit), and you’ll be surprised at how much more focused you are once you get to the office.

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx

 

As an avid book reader can tell you, immersing yourself in a great book can make your brain come alive. It sounds romantic, but science is now proving this to be true.When we read, not only are we improving memory and empathy, but research has shown that it makes us feel better and more positive too. Science has shown that reading has some amazing health benefits, including helping with depression, cutting stress, and reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s later in life.

Please do leave your comments and share with your Friends “Happy Reading”