Read a Book, You Nincompoop

I don’t read enough books. I spend my time either raising my kids or working for clients. I used to LOVE books. I collected them. I was in love with them. If you asked me what room I would most want in my home it would be a library. But lately, books have received the same reaction that far too many things in my life receive;

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

For starters, that’s not true. I’m all caught up on Riverdale and I’ve watched Stranger Things for a 3rd time while I work on developing a board game version. I spend 2 hours a week at hockey and another 2 hours a week at yoga. I spend an additional 3-5 hours a week playing board games.

I have time.

What I’ve been lacking, for a while, is the motivation to read. First off, I don’t sleep much. I’m both a full-time father and a full-time entrepreneur and sleep rarely makes the list of approved or required activities. Lately I’ve been going to bed earlier than I have in months, maybe years, and I’m getting about 6-7 hours a night.

Second, reading makes me more tired. So if I’m tired, and I start reading, I basically am just counting sheep. But I’ve realized, or maybe remembered, something very important.

Not reading is a really great way to be dumb and probably not get any smarter.

I’ve mostly been trying to read non-fiction professional development books. Authors like Gary V and Seth Godin are what I’m focusing on, but reading in general just makes you smarter…period. If you want some science on the topic, read this post about what science says about reading.

In any case, here’s my real reason for believing in the importance of reading. When we don’t read, we’re just recycling ideas that are already in our head. I’m not suggesting that we steal the ideas that we read but rather that reading about ideas and characters and concepts gives us a new perspective on things and this new perspective helps to unlock things that exist JUST below the surface.

When you think about the absolutely BEST ideas you’ve ever had, how different were they from your usual ideas? If my experience is any indication, probably not very. If you talk to entrepreneurs about their great ideas you find that it wasn’t a brand new idea that drove them but rather an interesting way of looking at an idea they already had.

If you read a book and really dig into it, you get to experience things from a different point of view. You get to see the world, YOUR world, through someone else’s eyes. When I first read The Legend of Bagger Vance I didn’t learn everything there was to know about golf. I learned about perfection and self-actualization. It didn’t make me look at golf differently, it made me look at my life differently. When I first read Salem’s Lot I didn’t learn a lot about vampires. I learned about personal sacrifice and about facing your own failings. And also a little bit about vampires.

So if you’re sitting here thinking, “ain’t nobody got time for that”…you have time for that.

Read a book, you nincompoop.