I found myself at the Capital Market Authority office ahead of my appointment time. I found a way of keeping myself engaged as I waited to get in to meet the officer I had gone to meet. I quickly made way to the waiting room where I got a chance to watch a grueling quiz challenge that was being aired on Rwanda Television.
The questions were challenging that, frankly speaking, I would not answer most of them. If I was there, I would have been eliminated at the beginning of round two if I went far.
I was challenged as some of the participants were. Imagine one participant said that Nairobi is a city in North Africa. It sounds funny but if you ask a random student which continent Islamabad is found, you will be shocked by the answer.
What is my point? That a reading culture should be entrenched in the lifestyle of everyone. The list of benefits of reading is endless. Here are some more on top of those I highlighted last week.
First and foremost, you can make money by winning a that tests your knowledge in different fields. For instance, the ongoing entrepreneurship competition for University students is more likely to be won by students who have read widely and are already informed about the available business opportunities in the country.
It gives you something to talk about – Have you ever run out of stuff to talk about with your best friend, wife or husband? This can be uncomfortable. It might even make married couples wonder if their marriage is in trouble. However, if you read a lot of books, you’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing are endless.
You can learn at your own pace – Where as formal education requires time and commitment, books have no late-bells or hourly commitments. So you can learn at your own pace when you read books.
New mental associations – As you read more books the depth and breadth of your knowledge expands and your ability to form new associations increases. In reading a book to discover the solution to one problem, you find the solution to others you may not have considered.
Improves your reasoning skills – Books for professionals contain arguments for or against the actions within. A book on cooking argues that Chili powder goes well with beef and goes poorly with ice-cream. A book on building a business argues that testing an idea for profitability before setting up is a smart strategy and argues against just barreling forward with the idea without testing.
You too will be able to reason better with the knowledge you gain. Some of the arguments will rub off on you. Others you will argue against. Anyhow, you’ll be reasoning better.
Builds your expertise – Brian Tracy said that one way to become an expert in your chosen field is to read 100 books on the subject. He also said by continuing the same for 5 years you’ll become an international expert. With the Internet and blogs, you could reduce that time down to 2-3 years if you follow through.
Saves money – Apart from saving money on entertainment expenses, reading books can help you develop your skills on how to save. Reading books on how someone went bankrupt will be a warning to you against doing the same mistakes.
Can help break a slump – Being in a slump is uncomfortable. If you are a writer, you call it writer’s block. If you are a salesperson, it’s called ‘not making a sale in 23 days’. But a slump can be a crossroads. It might be that you are wavering on your commitment to a particular project. Or a slump can be simply a lack of new ideas. Books are a great source of ideas, big and small. So if you find yourself in a slump, pick a book on the portion of your life you are slumping in and get to reading!