Reading is good, it makes you smarter, everyone knows it, right? No, it is not. It’s just happened that ‘everyone’ is wrong again.
People tend to simplify things, and there is a reason for that — it is much easier to live if everything around you is categorized and labelled. This is good. This is healthy. This makes things easy.
However, the world is rarely a place where everything can be categorized. The same goes with reading — the process itself is nothing more than a way of consuming information. Listening, for example, is another one, and no one would say that ‘listening is good on its own, it makes you smarter’. Everything is about which type of information you consume through listening. Or through reading.
Hence our topic.
There is A LOT of different books. In no way you can read even top New York Times bestsellers, because probably no one can read more than a hundred books per month.
Want some numbers? Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year committed to reading a book each two weeks, and it equals to 26 books a year. Let us pretend that you are even more active and less busy than Mark and can read 30 or 40 books a year. Now remember that each year more than 500,000 books are published in English only. Which means that if you want to spend your time wisely, than
→ picking the right book for reading is never a question of taste. ←
You just have no time for that.
Luckily, there are 2 types of books that will definitely make you smarter and better. If you read them.
When they asked Elon Musk about books he liked he instantly named several biographies. If you are not impressed with Elon’s opinion (what kind of person are you then?!), here is a list of benefits you get while reading biographies of interesting people.
Biographies help you learn from other people’s mistakes. It is almost the same as reading about tough choices a character makes. With a difference: that character was a real person, all situations took place in our real world. And everything that happened to the character could happen to you in one way or another.
Science fiction & fantasy
While most of you probably agreed on the first point, now you may be surprised. Fiction, and, most of all, fantasy and sci-fi? There are a lot of people considering this type of books are made for little children and incurable geeks. No problem. I will be happy to convince you otherwise.
We can glance at people’s qualities and values from other sides. This is where ‘out of the box’ thinking starts, by the way. Sci-fi & fantasy helps us let common society values go and be on our own when observing the world. Which leads us to understanding the real value of things.
Be critical about what you read and what you spend your precious time for. Pick books that will help you become smarter, know more and be a nice person!