Readers are leaders

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A good book could change your life

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

I’m sure you have heard that old saying – “Readers are leaders”.

I’m a hard-core reader by preference and profession, and I am always amazed – even alarmed when I hear of someone who chooses not to read.

A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. – Mark Twain

Reading, especially reading widely, is the cure to almost everything that ails us across the world right now.

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul. – Joyce Carol Oates

Reading can release us from the isolation and polarization that we seem to be besieged by in our current political atmosphere.

Just a few of the books I’ve read recently. Photo: Morf Morford

There is nothing particularly magical or even powerful about reading itself, but it holds the capacity for equipping or preparing us for virtually any human dilemma.

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive. – James Baldwin

Reading also allows us, at a reasonable price (or even free thanks to local libraries) to step into worlds far from our own. We can step into other eras, ethnicities or cultures, we can experience dystopias or step into the silent rooms of historic figures or prominent celebrities.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. – George R.R. Martin, author, Game of Thrones

Some readers, like Bill Gates, on a regular basis, may read up to fifty books a year. (1*)

Warren Buffett has a habit of reading about 500 pages each day.

In fact he said “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.Stephen King

One excuse I hear constantly is, who has the time to read?

I have one simple solution – turn off the television.

Even books for children can be a journey. Photo: Morf Morford

According to Thomas Corley, author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals,” 67% of rich people watch TV for one hour or less per day, while just 23% of poor people keep their TV time under 60 minutes. Corley also found only 6% of the wealthy watch reality shows, while 78% of the poor do.

One study of 1,200 wealthy people found that they had one habit in common – reading. (2*)

As with television, poor people read to be entertained or distracted. Wealthier people tend to read to be informed or inspired.

Reading, it turns out, is far more than interpreting words on a page. What we read influences and defines who we are.

A man is known by the books he reads, by the company he keeps, by the praise he gives, by his dress, by his tastes, by his distastes, by the stories he tells, by his gait, by the notion of his eye, by the look of his house, of his chamber; for nothing on earth is solitary but every thing hath affinities infinite. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reading gives us perspective and a little, but crucial, distance from issues and problems that seem to overwhelm us.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. – Sir Richard Steele

There are many reasons literacy is one of the key markers of a civilized society.

As literacy declines, so does comprehension, understanding, community engagement and common decency.

An uninformed nation is, by far, the most easily deceived and conquered.

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. – Ray Bradbury

Reading not only safeguards cultures, it can also revitalize individuals and relationships.

Reading can restore (or sometimes challenge) your faith, it can remind you of what matters to you – and the cost of neglecting your values when they are needed most.

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

A good book can offer escape, consolation, refuge, courage, inspiration and guidance – sometimes all at once.

A good book at the right time can change the course of your life.

A good book can remind us of strength we didn’t know we had.

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home. – Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life

(1*) You can see his four rules of reading here –