It doesn’t matter how busy you are at work, or how many episodes of Game of Thrones you’ve got to catch up on, you should always make space in your life to read more books. And that’s not the sort of advice that blows in on the wind from publishers, librarians or teachers; there are scientific and business imperatives to do so.
It boosts brain power
Neuroscientists say that reading gives your brain a sort of mental workout that is challenging in terms of vision, language, and associative learning. The understanding that comes from reading is much more demanding than absorbing information visually (i.e. TV) or orally (radio, podcasts, etc). When you’re reading, you have more opportunity to pause and process information to make sure you understand it.
As people age, their reading habits can really help. Those who read tend to have a lower rate of mental decline than non-readers and studies into Alzheimer’s suggest that the probability of developing the disease reduces the more someone engages in the regular intellectual activity, e.g. reading.
It reduces stress
A study by the University of Sussex showed that reading a book for just six minutes resulted in a massive 68% decline in stress levels, and that reading was far more effective than going for a walk, listening to music, or even having a nice cup of tea.
You’ll live longer
Another study by Yale University School of Health found that people who read for half an hour a day or more tend to live two years longer than non-readers.
It helps you do better business
It may seem odd to equate reading with being a successful business person, but statistics show this is the case. Whilst the average British person only reads one book a year, the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read, on average, four or five books a month, and active readers are likely to earn more than five times more than non-readers.
The Huffington Post looked at the reading habits of some of the world’s most successful people and found the amount of time they spend reading was staggering. On average, Bill Gates gets through a book a week, Mark Zuckerberg one a fortnight, and Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day.
So when you’re travelling on business, instead of slumping in front of the TV at the end of the day, spend 30 minutes reading instead. It will not only help you sleep better, it will also help you work better, be more successful and live longer. Books have superpowers!