Here’s a wonderful essay from Earl Nightingale (who would have been 96 tomorrow) on the importance of reading. Enjoy!
How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it’s so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics…I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That’s dangerous. It’s extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent.
In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes.
You do not read a book for the book’s sake, but for your own.
You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind.
You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life.
You may read because you did go to college.
You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too.
You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people.
Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise.
Books are a source of pleasure – the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight.
Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.
Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: “Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.”
― Earl Nightingale
Make time in your week to read. You’ll be glad you did!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,