Reading books is considered as one of the best activities for self-improvement. It is a habit that everyone “must” develop. Books can help you learn new things. In addition, they can also serve as entertainment.
Physical books have been around for a long time. But now we have ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, and blogs. With many such platforms, reading books have been popularized to a great extent. People who read a lot of books are considered as smart and intelligent. They seem to have gained a tremendous amount of wisdom.
But is that so?
Just because someone has read many books doesn’t make them smart, intelligent, or wise. It is not about how many books you have read. It is about what you have learned from them.
Suppose you have read 50 books till now, but you haven’t implemented any of the lessons from the books in your life. And, you are still the same person as you were before. So then, what’s the point of reading all those books?
Suppose another person has read only 10 books. But she is much smarter and wiser than she was before. So, in this case, the person who has read 10 books is better than you, who has read 50 books.
The Purpose of Reading Books
Why do you read books? Is it because you want to learn? Is it because you seek entertainment? Or is it just because everyone says that reading is good for you?
Defining your purpose for reading books can be crucial. First, you must be clear about why you want to read books because it will help you identify your end goal. Further, you will also know what kind of books you should read and what kind of books you should avoid.
Don’t buy a book just because you want to read it. First, understand why you want to read it. Then, ask yourself what outcome you expect from reading it. Is that outcome going to help you make your life better?
You cannot know for sure what the outcome is going to be like. You can only predict it based on internet reviews or friendly recommendations. Once you decide your purpose and predict the outcome, read the book.
What did you learn from reading the book? Was it good? Did it help you in any way? Think for a while. Take notes.
After you finish reading a book, reflect on it for a while. Go through your notes. For instance, when I read a book, I usually take notes at the end of each chapter. I write them down on the final page of every chapter. Then, when I complete the entire book, I go back and read the notes. That way, I review my overall learning from the book.
You do not have to follow my way. Instead, create your own method of reflecting on the outcome of reading the book.
Stop Reading More Books and Start Taking Action
Reading more books will not make you smarter if you don’t take action. For example, what is the purpose of reading the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People if, after reading it, you are still lonely and uninfluential? Does that mean the author was wrong and his principles don’t work? Most likely, no.
What you need to do is learn from a book and implement the lessons into your life. You should follow the author’s advice. Usually, book writers do a lot of research before writing their books. So their advice is genuine most of the time.
Don’t pick up another book as soon as you finish reading one. Instead, as I said, take notes and reflect on the book you just finished reading. You can also write a summary of the book.
Here are some ways you can take action after reading a book.
- Take notes
- Change habits
- Be practical
- Read the book multiple times
- Writ a summary
- Reflect from time to time
After you do these things, see if anything has changed in your life. Depending on the book you read, observe if anything has changed in your habits, financial status, productivity, communication skills, or whatever.
Bonus Tip: Review the Books Before Buying
It is something that I always do. Before you buy the book, review it. Search online for reviews. Read the reviews or watch them on YouTube. Doing this will help you understand whether the book is good or not. You will also know what outcome you can expect after reading the book.
In addition, reviewing the book will also save you time and money. For example, if you buy a book and read it only to find out that it is not very good. You just wasted your time and money.
Here’s another tip to save your time: Don’t read books you don’t like. If, sometimes, halfway through reading a book, you realize that it is either boring, difficult to understand, or not helpful, just stop reading it. You don’t have to finish every book you read.
Reading books should help you make your life better. It is not about how many books you have read. It is about what you have learned and what impact they have made on your life.
Stop reading more books. It doesn’t mean you should read less. It means that reading more books is only useful if they make a better impact on your life. It doesn’t matter how many books you have read if nothing has changed in your life.
Don’t read to read. Read to learn. Read to change. Read to grow.
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