When I was a kid, I wasn’t fond of reading, quite the contrary I experienced numerous problems in school due to my aversion to reading. In elementary school, I was top of my class starting from the bottom, and many of my teachers proclaimed several times that I won’t be able to succeed in life and that I was going to be a failure. I don’t blame them, many teachers and parents get confused, and the correlate the phrase “being a good student” with “being a good person.” Nevertheless, in my last year in high school, something changed inside me, when I picked up a copy of the book Sharp Objects. From that point on, I started reading a bunch more thriller books. I could vividly visualize the scenes, and despite the police-thriller genre I was fond of, I felt really calm. At the beginning of my years at the university, I got bored with that kind of books and started reading more pop-psychology books and non-fiction in general. Long story short, in the 4rth year of my studies, I decided to start a blog with the purpose of suggesting great books.
How a boy who could hardly pick up a book, ended up an adult with one Greek book-blog and a new one in English?
The reasons are quite simple, and I discovered them through a span of 5 years-time:
- Books can “transport” you in a calm place (especially the good ones), just like when you are praying or meditating.
- Non-fiction books can supply with knowledge, that can help you through life situations.
- Fiction books can teach you valuable lessons about life.
- All book-genres are filled with ideas that nourish your mind and help you contribute.
Reading good books is similar to meditation
When I was a student, I discovered that when I am stressed, I could pick up a good book and change the way I see the world. As I was reading, I felt more secure and relaxed. The book “Stress Proof: The scientific solution to protect your brain and body,” supports the idea that in order to dimish your stress levels, focus your mind in a different activity. When the stress is being created by your mind and not by a real situation, a book could be the tool shifts your focus and help you relax.
Don’t take this advice as a sole answer to dealing with stress. There are everyday situations that require your stress level to rise thus signals nervous system for your attention. Sometimes the better way to get rid of something is to give your full attention. But when you are dealing with an imaginary situation that just came out of your head, reading a good book, might be a way out of unnecessary tension.
Reading non-fiction books
The first non-fiction book I read was “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem.” It stands to this day as one of the best books I’ve read. This book opened the door to many other great books and applicable small lessons that everyone can attempt through his/her every-day life. There are plenty of non-fiction books that can supply you with practical knowledge in a great variety of fields. For every problematic life situation, you are experiencing; there is an author out there that has the answer.
A common misconception: If you are new to reading non-fiction you might get amazed by all the information you receive by reading just one good book. You falsely assume that you don’t have to read another book at this particular subject, let’s say “decision making.” Nevertheless, the magic with non-fiction books happens when you read several books in one specific field. That’s the place where new ideas, your ideas, are being manufactured. It is essential to judge the information you receive and to decide what works for you. You won’t be able to do that when you are stuck in the first book you read (believe me I’ve been there).
Reading fiction books
Fiction books follow the best way of revealing you great values and ideas, storytelling. I haven’t been very enthusiastic in the past about fiction books, but in the past two years, I have turned my attention to several of them. I genuinely enjoy when the author has something to say behind a story, and I avoid books that are solely based on the relationships between the characters.
One of the best (as well as mainstream) fiction story that transcends great values such as family, friendship and bravery is, of course, the Harry Potter series.
Mixing your ideas
“Good Ideas are not conjured out of thin air; they are built out of a collection of existing parts, the composition of which expands and occasionally, contracts over time” ~book, “Where Good Ideas Come From.”
Our existence stands to one necessary procedure:
Mixing compounds and testing the result.
Keeping in mind that purely scientific explanation, I invite you to do the same when it comes to reading books. Our every-day lives are based on ideas that people created. When you read a lot of books, you combine and the test the ideas you’ ve read, you can be one more step closer to contribute to the world and make something of your own.
Going back to when I was a kid, I remember something my father told me one time he drove to school (maybe another attempt to persuade me to study), that correlates with this article:
“George, they can take all your possessions and money, but they will never take the things you know. That will stay with you forever.”