I have a confession to make...I love to read. Yes, I was that nerdy kid in school who actually read all of the assigned books. I took an AP Literature class my senior year...yep, I'm that kid.
Although I have always loved to read, it really wasn't until graduate school that I began to read, "on my own." Meaning it was then I began to read in my free time, as opposed to reading assigned materials. It was life-changing for me creatively.
How was it life-changing? For the first time, I read books that caused me to expand outside of my normal interests. I was no longer reading the "classics;" I was reading new and fresh perspectives. The book that started this revolution for me was Tim Sanders' "Love is the Killer App." It was a great read, and up until that point, I hadn't read any non-fiction business books. Suddenly, a new world of interest was opened.
From then on, I could not, not have a book I was working through. Even today, I make it my goal to read at least one chapter every morning. Hopefully I can read more.
What kind of books do I read? All Kinds.
Fiction, non-fiction, biography, theology, you name it. I like to mix it up, go from a book about creativity to a book about business branding. A biography followed by a fictional classic. I will read almost anything as long as it is well-written and thought provoking (sorry Twilight series).
Why is this good to read?
I believe reading provides a mental stimulus that all creatives need. It is an opportunity to learn and imagine. A chance to dream of new worlds or of what might be. It is a chance to hear from the mind of a business man or peer into the heart of a spiritual leader. Reading gives us access to places we wouldn't otherwise be able to go.
I love watching films, but they cannot provide the same mental stimulus for me. The reason why is because a film tells me what to see. A book only provides the outline. My mind will fill in the gaps and create a world that only I can dream of.
When I find myself in a creative rut, I dive into a book. Perhaps the story can bring me a new idea. Maybe learning from Robert Oppenheimer can instill a sense of purpose for my endeavors. Whatever I need, I can find it in a book.
Perhaps you would say you aren't much of a reader. May I encourage you to spend 2015 pushing yourself to read more? It doesn't have to be a one-thousand page novel, or the most popular piece on the bestseller list...it just has to be something you find interesting. Start by reading what interests you, and you will eventually find yourself inching in to new though-provoking territory.
The key is, you have to start.
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