10 Major Benefits of Reading
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Reading is one of the great pleasures of life. It’s an acquired taste, though. It doesn't develop naturally. The habit of reading starts at home: if a child sees their parents reading; if there are shelves with books around; if they are allowed to spend time in libraries and bookstores just playing with and touching books; or if they are read to by their caretakers, kids will probably develop a liking to books eventually. I grew up among books, and many people in my family read for pleasure, so, for me, it was easier to tackle the complex task of going through words and sentences and trying to make sense of them. It gets better and easier with practice.
In addition to giving pleasure, there are many other proven benefits associated with reading. Here are the some of them:
1. It’s entertaining: reading is a wonderful and relatively cheap hobby. It helps you pass the time; it takes your mind off problems; it’s relaxing. You go places and meet interesting people in the stories you read.
2. Books can be mentors: it’s said that to develop a professional skill or hone a natural talent, one needs coaching and mentoring. Not everyone can get one. Great leaders, artists and people who stand out in their jobs have always been mentored. Books can take this role. If you don’t have access to a human mentor, read their written words. Buy his/her biography. Books will even give you the opportunity to follow a number of mentors and get from them what suits you better. Vicarious experience can be a great source of learning.
3. Reading improves your creativity: of course, the most direct consequence of reading is improving your writing skills. There's nothing like exposure to good writing to put you in the right direction of writing well and more creatively. But reading also opens many other doors in your brain: you develop new perspectives and insights. You add new knowledge to what you had accumulated before and.. bang!...all of a sudden you come up with a super original idea. Innovation leads to success.
4. You will never feel lonely again: have you ever travelled alone? Maybe not as a hobby, but, sometimes, you need to do that for work. And it can be very lonely. If you like reading, books will be friends you can take along with you wherever you go: especially now, when you can have your whole library on your iPhone or download a new title at the touch of a button.
5. Reading can be a life-changing experience: some books have such a profound impact on people that they actually change the course of their lives. They give you such new angles on things, you decide to behave in a different way or start something new. They may make you go to different country; start a new career; decide to take course on a new subject, change your investment plans (thousands of people have, for example, reported how the personal finance book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki, have changed the way they think about their future).
6. Reading makes you smarter: it affects your brain in very powerful ways, creating new synapses (connections), improving your memory, broadening your attention span. Reading is the best brain workout. Great leaders are readers and this should say enough about how the activity boosts the powers of your mind.
7. Studies have indicated that reading can be a strong protection against the onset of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It looks like the exercise brains go through when submitted to the effort of decoding, processing and linking words, making sense of passages and connecting them with what was read before acts as a shield against those conditions.
8. Reading reduces stress: it changes your mental context, makes your focus on something other than your most immediate worries; calms you down and helps improve your general health.
9. In the context of foreign language learning, reading is the most powerful skill in acquiring a new language. Reading in the target language – starting with simplified, graded readers and progressively moving on to unabridged books – is the strongest way to consolidate the grammar, vocabulary and linguistic functions you have been studying, as you observe them being used communicatively in its natural context.
10. Books will make you a better person: reading about other people’s problems and lives, be them fictional or real; learning about how other people feel and see the world; exposing yourself to different dreams, passions and aspirations opens up your mind and boosts your empathy. As a result, you become a lot more tolerant of diversity and turn into a more evolved human being.
Is there any other benefit you would like to add to this list? Please feel free to add your comments below.