It always surprises me, no matter how many times I hear it, when people tell me they don’t read books anymore. I wrote a novel a couple years back. I asked some friends to give it a read and provide feedback. One of my friends told me, “I’d love to read it, but I haven’t read a book in 20 years.” My wife will read it though. (She did read it, and gave some great, impassioned feedback.)
Seth Godin had a good post a few days ago which inspired this one.
In our Blog Blitz! workshops, I always stress the importance of reading. One of the best ways to become a better writer is to read books. Reading blogs is not enough because blogs are not always written by good writers. (Sorry, but it’s true.)
I occasionally come across blogs endowed with downright bad writing by people who say they want to make blogging their career. I would never discourage anyone from attempting to reach their dreams or goals. Instead, I tell people to read more. The best way to gain loyal readers is to write great content.
Some people advise that if you are writing non-fiction, your reading should be non-fiction. I think it’s better to strike a balance between both fiction and non-fiction. They both expand our minds, but fiction is more adept at engaging our imagination. Non-fiction opens your mind to new ideas of a more practical or utilitarian nature.
Currently on my reading shelf is Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds, which is reinforcing my deep-seeded belief that PowerPoint/Keynote template presentation slides suck, while Jack Karouac’s The Dharma Bums is keeping me joyfully entertained. I’m learning a thing or two as well. And that’s the point.
Learning happens best when we are reading. Not when we are watching television, or Hulu, or YouTube. Do I still watch YouTube and Hulu? Sure, on occasion when I have a desperate need to fall asleep on the couch and strain my neck, but I am fully aware that I am not learning much while watching the tube. I prefer having an active brain most of the time, so when it’s time to sleep, I crack open a book and read until my eyelids droop.
Lately, Seth Godin’s Free Prize Inside has claimed the dubious honor of putting me to sleep each night. It’s a great read though! Highly recommended.