Why you should embrace books

Reading is essential for a healthy brain. Reading continues to develop the brains of adults and might help slow down or even stop cognitive decline.

Regular readers show more empathy for other people.

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We often struggle to find time to read. That's why we need to start small.

  • Read five pages of a book that interests you every day. When you are comfortable with five pages, try ten, then twenty.
  • The book should interest you. Reading a book of your choice makes the activity a pleasure to look forward to.
  • It helps to keep the book, audiobook app, or e-reader on you. Then, when you have some downtime, you can read instead of playing a smartphone game.
Audiobooks

Research found that audiobooks stimulate the brain differently but just as deeply as reading.

With print books, you need to provide the voice, imagine the tune and rhythm of speech, the intonation, stress of syllables, and so on. All this gets provided for you when listening to audio. With audiobooks, you're using different methods to decode and understand it. But it still deeply impacts your thoughts and feelings.

A reading habit can help you in numerous ways.

  • Browsing through a book can calm you as part of the daily bedtime routine.
  • It will also replace bad habits like looking at your phone before bed.
  • Audiobooks can help you get fit. A study found those who listen to a great audiobook at the gym are more prone to exercise regularly.
  • Reading can improve your focus and short-term memory.

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RELATED IDEAS

Reading is a habit of compounding growth. When reading, you'll learn more, and you'll generate ideas and motivation for making other changes.

Reading books means you're getting more concentrated thinking on a topic. It's also harder and requires patience and attention than reading an article for example.

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IDEAS

Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines of text.
  • The vision span method uses the span of human eyesight to read words in batches.
  • Rapid serial visual representation (RSVP): an electronic reading system displays words one at a time.
Tsundoku

Many of us have a desire to read. We buy books, but then the demands of work and family catch up with us, and we never get round to reading the books. The Japanese calls it tsundoku.

A US survey found that more than one-third of adults report a desire to read more books. If you're one of these people, even though you love books, reading them is the least important thing in your life. You may do it at the end of the day, or perhaps when you're on holiday.

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