Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
October 17, 201310:53 PM

The Merits Of Reading A Book

What was the last book that you read?

I buy new books all day. Literally. I read most of my book on my iPhone using the Kindle, iBooks or Kobo app (but, mostly Kindle). I haven't been reading enough books this year. I used to read - on average - about a book a week. I think I have only read a handful of books this year. Sadly. Still, I find myself reading all of the time. Tweets on Twitter, Facebook status updates, e-newsletters, articles online, blog posts, magazine articles, newspaper articles (remember those) and more. Still an infovore, but my consumption of books has not been at a personal level of satisfaction.

Moving forward.

Recognizing this flaw in my personal development, I've made an active push to read more books in the past few months. I even have physical books lying around my offices, by my bed and even in my knapsack. Book reading is an important part of what makes me grow. I know this. Still, this past year I got lost in less meaningful pieces of content. Yes, less meaningful. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but as amazing as an article might be or as enjoyable as it can be to spend a lunch hour scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, I can't help but feeling like all content (outside of book reading) leaves me as hollow as a meal at a fast food restaurant. It feels like the right thing at the time, but there is nothing but regret and the desire for a more substantive meal shortly thereafter.

Diving deep into a book.

Last week, I finished reading Steven Pressfield's latest book, The Authentic Swing. The thing about Pressfield (and his books) is that he forces you to focus and dive deep on the topic of writing and getting the words out of you. For me (and anyone else with a passion for writing), it's inspiring. Still, that's first-level on what happens when you read a good book. It's much more about focus. A book allows you to shut-out the real-time Web, the beeps, the alerts, the distractions and more that continuously drive us away from the things that we really need to focus on. Pressfield calls everything but doing the work that we're supposed to do "the resistance." Never has there been a tool to seduce the resistance more than the Internet. Books take you away from that. Writing notes and adding perspective to the books that you're reading do that too. Sadly, I got away from that.

I once was lost...

I'm not done with Twitter or reading blog posts or articles in The New Yorker, but I am done with those resources being the primary destination. Books first. Everything else flows after that. I don't know about you, but the more books that I read, the more creative and strategic solutions my brain can come up with. We live in a world where content is short, fast and free. Perhaps this is more a "stop and smell the roses" type of blog post. Regardless, the merits that are derived from spending the time, energy and effort of reading a full book (cover to cover) is something that is easily lost in our fast food content culture.

Interested in fine dining? Try reading more books. I'm going to. Join me.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Rob Biesenbach
    Mitch Joel

    I've been telling myself that I read a book's worth of blog posts and news articles every day or two. But that's just measuring by the number of words, not the quality or depth of the experience. And though I usually come away with a few tips or pieces of thought-provoking advice, am I really being enriched? Fast food is a good analogy. Or perhaps it's like eating at a tapas bar every night, versus sitting down once in a while to a true, full meal. So, yes, books. Including (for me) non-business and even fiction books.

  • Posted by Tony Faustino
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, I'm reading the following books all in hard copy format: 1) CTRL ALT DEL; heard somewhere author of this book was a cool guy ;-) 2) Icarus Deception 3) Reinventing YOU 4) Art of the Pitch -- ordered from Amazon this AM (your podcast w/ Peter Coughter convinced me I should have read this months ago.

    I still order books in hardcopy format because it aids my learning process to write tons of notes in the margins (literally everywhere) as if the book is a journal. It helps me in boiling down what are the big, big, take-homes.

    Plus, these notes help me a lot in speeding up the writing process for the subsequent blog post / book review. I'll keep you looped in when CTRL ALT DEL review is shipped. Thank you for sharing your love of books and the specific titles you're reading (forms huge basis for my Amazon Book Wish/To-Read List).

  • Posted by Chris Stephens
    Mitch Joel

    The worst thing about your podcast Mitch is the stack of books that accumulates on my desk and that I just can't find enough time to read. Seriously though, I would definitely agree that books seem to return much more value.

  • Posted by Michael Brown
    Mitch Joel

    I have been reading real books for quite a while. I am trying to break into reading more blogs and online content. I am currently reading the following books. Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Daniel Kahneman' Thinking Fast and Slow. These last two books have been very meaty and I am working through them slowly. I am really enjoying the book by Chip and Dan Switch since, I am engineering deep change in my employment and the rest of my life. I have also finished reading The Icarus Deception and The Dip by Seth Godin.

    I am also quite enjoying your blog. This is the first time that I have ever commented on anyone's blog. Thanks for your content creation.

  • Posted by Allen Roberts
    Mitch Joel

    Absolutely Mitch!
    I generally am reading three books at a time, something useful and interesting in my professional domain, something interesting and engaging outside the domain, a bio, history, and the like, and something crap for the relax, mogodon for the brain. It used to be a 2 week cycle, but has expanded to 3 or 4, as I expend time reading "stuff" i get. The web is a seductive siren of time, it takes an effort to drag yourself away.

  • I'm a big, big proponent of book reading. I "read" about a book a week, but that's in quotes because some of those are listening through Audible (which is how I read your book). Not only does book reading help increase your attention span, it makes you a better writer. Good for you for making a conscious effort to do more of it!

  • Posted by Susan Cellura
    Mitch Joel

    I love a good book - with a front and back cover!! I have compiled a fun collection of my favorites in hard back, as those are keepers for me. I try to read a variety - historical, fun fiction, business, and always love recommendations from friends.

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