There are lots of reasons to read things online. It's a fast way to consume information. With smartphones in almost everyone's hand, reading has never been easier. We have:
- Google Plus posts
- Articles on news sites
- Blog posts
- Facebook posts
And so it goes. Many people will also advocate for reading online since "online" is now increasingly mobile. I can read the New York Times on my iPhone while on the train.
- And while I'm waiting in the line at the grocery store...
- And in the five minutes before my next meeting starts...
- And while my kids are finishing up their volleyball practice...
This is all good. Or, is it? Having long been a digital learner, I've advocated for as much reading as possible but recently I had an experience which caused me to shift slightly. The fact is, if I'm honest, I really haven't been reading contemplatively at all.
Let me explain.
Confession here: I hadn't read a full book in about six months. Don't get me wrong- I've been reading like crazy since I'm a doctoral student. Articles, snippets, textbooks, etc. Lots of reading. Research. Writing. More research.
But not full books and certainly not for pleasure.
And then something changed. Somehow I heard about Brad Lomenick's The Catalyst Leader. The book is really good- down to earth advice from a man who is humbly leading an organization that impacts lives. What was more surprising was that I really had to discipline myself to read each day.
You may now be thinking- what's the big deal? The guy read a book, ok... but be honest with yourself and look in the mirror. How many full length books have you read in the past two months?
Turns out, some 75% of Americans have read a book in the past twelve months. That's good. I just wasn't one of them. Here are some benefits of complimenting your online reading with full length book reading:
- Daily book reading slows you down.
- Book reading imprints a book's idea more firmly in your head than a blog post or tweet.
- Full length books make you more contemplative.
If you aren't yet a full length book reader, here are my suggestions:
- Choose a reading time. This is probably best done early in the morning or right before bed.
- Go for a little each day. Like a diet, some is better than none and it makes sense to chip away a little at a time.
- Reflect on what you're reading. This could be in a journal or via your blog.
We still need books. They teach us amazing things, connect us to amazing authors and just might help us become amazing people.