Imagine you are interviewing someone for a job and one of the questions you are going to ask them is “How much time do you spend reading and what do you read?” Now imagine the answer you get back exactly describes your own reading habits. What would your opinion be of the person you are interviewing based solely on that answer?
In other words, are you impressed with your own reading habits? Most people aren’t. With the Internet, the average person reads a much wider range of content with much less depth than 20 years ago. And while there are some definite advantages to knowing a little about a lot of things, much of the content adds very little value to people’s lives.
Making a conscious effort to read well-written books on a regular basis can go a long ways toward making your reading habits more balanced. Personally, I can tell if I’ve been reading enough high quality writing based on the number of ideas I have. For example, if I sit down to write and have a very difficult time coming up with anything to write about, it is usually a sign that I haven’t been reading enough. On the other hand, if I’ve been reading a lot of high quality content, the ideas just seem to flow.
How do you guage your reading?
Positively Present says
I love reading and pretty much do it every chance I get, but you make a great point about ideas. Whenever I don’t have a lot of time to read I feel like I have fewer ideas and feel kind of off. I’ve never thought about it before but I really do feel, well, smarter when I’m reading often.
Bryan Schueler says
I couldn’t agree more, and I would further you point that when I feel I’m in a rut in a project or in my job and I don’t have any new ideas it is also a sign that I need to read more. Ideas you absorb in reading naturally spark your own thoughts and creativity.
Great post, thank you for the reminder!
I am an engineer and I read a lot about many subjects. When our company is hiring, I am often involved in the interview process. I always ask “What do you like to read?” This question puzzles many engineers and the HR folks tend to think it is a waste of a question..
I use the question not to find out whether they like Leo Tolstoy, Isaac Asimov or Mike Hammer. The question is intended to find out how they learn. Several times, poor answers ended hopes of a job offer.
Success in a career (in my mind) depends a great deal on being able to continue to learn and apply what we’ve learned to the current problem. And too many job seekers act like learning ends at graduation.
“I’m curious about everything, even things I’m not interested in.” Alex Trebek
For those of you with busy careers, there is a service called “DailyLit” that sends small 5-15 minute sized increments of literature to your email inbox.
I love this site and am currently reading “Walden” through it. Many books are free, though some have fees.
Russ Smith says
I like this encouragement. Short and simple. Also something I think about a lot. I need to make more time for sitting down and reading.