The return on investment on reading

10th Nov 2016
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Almost four years back, and after countless hours of research, I thought it was right to invest in a Kindle Paperwhite by spending close to half my salary on it. Well, I hustled, searched for a friend who was leaving for the US, who bought it from a Best Buy, thereby saving a cool three thousand rupees on it. It is my best investment ever. With Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited package, finding books that you want is a breeze.

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But what do you get by reading? Why would you invest hours of your leisure time in reading when you could watch the second season of Narcos or a re-run of Friends? There is a reason why we see articles like ‘How I ended up reading 50 books last year’ and ‘How to read a book a week’.

Let us understand why reading is one of the most useful hobbies that will help you along the way to success:

It helps you stay mentally stimulated

It is very common to see people who balk even at the thought of reading an entire article on a website, leave alone a book. The brain is just like any other muscle which requires being kept hale and healthy. Playing games and indulging in Sudoku are sure to help in cognitive stimulation. But by reading books, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of new ideas.

It reduces stress   

An incredibly stressful time at the office can be completely mitigated when you immerse yourself in a light book. Fiction is fantastic when you want your mind to shift gears, and it is perfect before you crash. Admittedly, there are times when you are engrossed in an ‘unputdownable’ book, but you will be completely relaxed at the end of your reading affair.

You gain knowledge

This is the inevitable result of reading. Most of the material that you read might not be useful immediately, but you can be assured that your subconscious mind stores it. A month ago, I was at a client’s office pitching Cloud, and the conversation had come to a standstill as they were unhappy with the commercials. The talk digressed to money in general, and I used a quote or two from Wallace Wattles’ The Science of getting rich, which I had the opportunity to read a year ago. The atmosphere in the room had completely changed by then with us indulging in casual banter paving the way for smoother negotiations as it was my client’s favourite book.

It improves vocabulary

This goes without saying. In fact, many people do not read because they are unfamiliar with words. Moreover, lugging around a dictionary when reading a book makes them lose interest. There is a simple trick that can be employed to tackle this, but it requires patience. Every time I see a word that I do not know about, I read the entire sentence thrice and patiently wait for the next time I will encounter the same word in a different sentence and context. When you read more, you are bound to come across the words over and over again. Finding a word being used in various contexts will eventually help you figure out its meaning.

It enhances your writing skills

Most successful people say that the art of selling is one of the most critical skills required no matter what path you take. According to me, the ability to write ranks second. Amid the countless number of emails that we send, it is only a given that working your magic with words is a vital skill today, either as an employee or an entrepreneur. Exposing yourself to well-written books helps you observe the style, fluidity, and design of how others write.

Reading can help you get inspired

When you read about someone who has overcome obstacles in life to achieve a goal similar to yours, you will be emboldened to meet your goals. In fact, reading has such a strong influence that it can change your emotional state. All successful people will tell you that there is at least that one book which completely changed their outlook towards life and success.

As a successful entrepreneur once said, “Making reading a habit will show up next quarter and next year, which you can bank on.” In short, the more you read, the more you know and the better you grow as a person and as an entrepreneur or employer.

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