Not everyone is an avid reader. Even people who tend to have their preferences and stick to only a handful of genres they like to read. It can be very beneficial, however, to branch out. Here are some of the benefits and reasons why reading a wide variety of books broadens your perspective on life and makes you a more complete individual.
Perspectives on Personal Improvement
The motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, believed that we find a reason to make a change in our lives based on either desperation or inspiration–the important thing, he said, is to know the difference between them.
The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg— Within 21 days of beginning something, we will form the habit of repeating it. Whether it is a good or bad habit, it will continue and change your life. Dughigg teaches us how to form the best habits that will lead to optimal success.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told To Alex Haley— Malcolm X is not commonly thought of as a self-made man, but he is a person who reinvented himself and the definition that society had of him just by taking a different perspective and acting on it. This is his story about his journey from an embattled childhood through choosing to read the dictionary from cover-to-cover while imprisoned and giving himself a homemade education and a new life.
Spark by John Ratey— This author’s focus is to see life through the lens of daily exercise and how it changes our perspective on life in general. He talks specifically about how learning the basic techniques of exercising contribute to being more productive, more self-confidence, and brings more happiness to everyday life.
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Reading Increases Empathy
Reading has been proven to increase empathy. This shouldn’t be surprising – the more you understand others and see where they are coming from, the more you naturally empathize with them. After all, the old adage that you must walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to understand them exists for a reason. Therefore, the more books you read from perspectives other than your own, the more empathetic you will be towards others. Empathy is key to broadening your perspective because it breaks down existing barriers between people.
Reading Exposes You To New Ideas
Reading new and different things opens your mind to new ideas. For example, no matter the religion you affiliate with, or if you don’t affiliate with a religion at all, learning about other religions increases understanding and tolerance. Supplementary materials such as a Theological Dictionary of the New Testament can help aid your understanding as you read religious texts. Although non-fiction will obviously expose you to new concepts, even fiction can present you with challenging ideas and dilemmas that force you to reevaluate your feelings and worldview.
Reading Increases Your Knowledge
Another major benefit to reading is that it increases your knowledge about the world, the people in it, scientific and business concepts, and more. Perhaps obviously, the more non-fiction books you read the more knowledge you will accrue. If you don’t read much non-fiction, consider picking some up that are on topics that interest you. If you do read a lot of non-fiction, try branching out. For example, if you like reading about American history, read some books about the histories of other countries. Also consider picking up books about science, business and more. You never know when unusual knowledge may come in handy at work or in your everyday life. Even reading fiction can teach you new things because authors frequently put substantial amounts of research into their books.
Reading Increases Critical Thinking Ability
The ability to think critically is important in nearly every aspect of life, from school to work. Reading books of any kind engage your brain to make you think and analyze what you have read. Taking this further, if you broaden your reading list, you will learn to think about and analyze different situations. For example, reading a mystery when you normally read non-fiction will cause you to puzzle out who committed the crime and why. Critical thinking skills help you connect with other people because you are better equipped to determine what they are truly thinking or feeling. Do note that there is a difference between critical thinking and critical reading, but the ability to read critically leads to the ability to think critically.
Reading Increases Your Vocabulary and Writing Ability
People who read frequently tend to have better vocabularies than people who do not. When reading, you are often exposed to words you don’t know which you then pick up. This, by extension, makes you a better writer, because you don’t only learn new words while reading, but also more eloquent ways to state things, correct phrasing and proper grammar. Writing skills are important for nearly everyone, regardless of their chosen profession. Better writing skills help you communicate with others in exactly the right way to learn more about them and their worldview.
Books are an amazing medium that will continue to transport readers to other worlds, open minds to other points of view and inspire people to be better. Expand your reading list in order to broaden your perspective on the world, ideas, life, and other people. You won’t regret that you did.
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Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty, and fashion. When she isn’t writing she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.