I am a voracious reader, usually reading about two to three books a month. (Note: If you want to see what I’m reading– check out my GoodReads profile or my 2019 challenge, which is to read 50 books this year!) Studies have shown time and time again that there are many benefits of reading, from speech to writing and stress relief, as well as the knowledge you receive. Below, we delve into the benefits of reading and why it can help you in your career and relationships.
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A 2015 study found that reading any type of book for children significantly increases their vocabulary. Many other correlating studies for adulthood have found the same result. And it doesn’t have to be literary journals or intense non-fiction books. Even if you are reading romance novels or another type of entertainment literature, your vocabulary can still increase. Of course, I’ve found it enjoyable to read non-fiction that can improve my business and self, but if you don’t enjoy those types of books, it is still possible to get benefits.
Helps With Small Talk
Books can be a bridge to overcome any awkward conversation gaps. I have found in many situations, whether it’s a business dinner or a networking function, talking about books with my new acquaintances has been a great benefit in both the situation and for my business. Because I read so many books, I’ve usually either read or at least heard of many of the recent popular books. If I meet someone who has done the same, we instantly hit it off. It takes the pressure off having to come up with new things to talk about constantly.
This has ties to the first point of increasing vocabulary: reading regularly can also make you a better writer. It expands the possibilities of words to use in your writing and can also serve as strong inspiration for your own work. Many times, we find that books don’t answer all of our questions or they leave topics or plotlines open that could be turned into something else. Most writers love reading anyway, but if you find yourself often uninspired, try reading a few days a week.
Because my college degree is in English Literature and not Business, I often read business books to help my own entrepreneurial journey. Some, like Profit First, have helped me set up my business for success, while others like Eat That Frog have helped me learn how to prioritize and get more things done effectively. Books can also teach you a new skill that you can start offering to your customers. I was always a nervous speaker, but this book on public speaking inspired by Steve Jobs was the one thing that helped me. Now I have gotten paid speaking gigs and offer that as part of my services as a digital marketing consultant.
I am an anxious person, but I have found reading to be insanely relaxing. This is especially the case with fiction. Reading shifts your focus from what you’re worried about to consuming the subject matter at hand. When I’m reading non-fiction, oftentimes business books will inspire ideas for my own business that I will highlight or take notes on in Evernote. Books are a great way to wind down from the day before bed so you sleep better.
How to Read Regularly
As a new mom, it took me a while to find my groove again with reading. But, it is possible if you are dedicated to making time for it. The easiest thing to do is to replace TV with a book. I found myself often sitting in front of the TV in the evenings just zoning out. That time would much be better suited toward something that is improving my wellbeing.
Another huge tip is to use audiobooks. My local library has hundreds of audiobooks and even has many available for streaming using the Hoopla or Axis360 app. My vehicle has a CD player, so I can still check out CDs versions. But if that’s not a possibility, check on streaming availability or sign up for service like Audible. During the work week, I have my audiobook going at all times that I’m in my car. My office is about 20 minutes away from my house, and the time spent commuting 3-4 times per week + other times I’m in the vehicle running errands usually adds up to about one audiobook a week. I don’t listen on weekend usually to give myself a mental break. You can also listen to audiobooks while exercising or cleaning.
It’s never too late to start your journey as a reader. It has many benefits to your life and career, and you may find new ideas and inspiration that you wouldn’t have found before. Start with short books first for easy wins and you’ll find how easy reading can be!
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