The act of reading is at an all-time low in the United States, and I suspect, in most of the western world. Movies, video games, YouTube and other activities have taken the place of what was previously traditional reading time.
How do I know? Let me share some interesting stats on reading. A recent study concludes the following:
• 33 percent of high school graduates never read another book after graduation.
• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after graduation.
• 57 percent of purchased books are not read to completion.
• 70 percent of U.S. families have not been in a book store in the last five years.
• 80 percent of U.S. families did not purchase or read a book last year.
So what? I get all my information from YouTube or by simply “googling it.” Who needs a book?
You may not need a book, but you absolutely need to read. You can read from a book or from your E-reader. You can read from your tablet, laptop or work station. It is not the book that is important but the act of reading that is all important.
I’ll wait for the movie
I feel blessed and fortunate as an author. My books, "Playing with the Enemy" and "The Final Service," are both in the development stage to be made into motion pictures. My book "Hey Buddy" is in the fundraising stage to be made into a documentary.
I’ve spoken at dozens of high schools and colleges about my writing and I hear frequently from students, “I haven’t read your book. I’m waiting for the movie.” My response is always, “Yes, you can do that to hear the story, but you are missing a tremendous opportunity to develop your imagination and exercise your mind by not making my book into a movie in your mind!” The response is usually, “Huh?” Then I’ll explain.
Watching a movie is the laziest thing you can do for your brain.
When you watch a movie, all the decisions have been made for you. The producer selects a screenwriter to turn it from a book to a shooting script. The producer then selects a director and the director develops his/her vision for the project. A casting director is selected and based upon the directors expressed vision and the casting directors interpretation of the script, actors are selected to play the various roles. A cinematographer is selected to stage each scene and capture it on film. A costume designer is selected to design the costumes and a composer and musical director are selected to write and orchestrate the music. Finally, an editor is selected to cut, paste and organize the film into the most interesting entertainment feature possible. When going to the movie theater, there's only one decision left to make.
Do you want butter on your popcorn?
Be the producer, director, screenwriter and leading actor/actress in the movie you make in your mind.
When you read a book, magic happens. You are the producer, director and all the people needed to make a movie all rolled into one! You select the cast, choose the costumes and design the scenes. Every section of your brain goes to work to bring your vision of the book to life. Reading enhances and expands your imagination, sharpens your decision-making abilities and increases problem-solving capabilities.
Studies show those who read increase both their IQ and EQ, increase their class rank and earn more in their chosen careers. Most importantly, those who read seem to be happier people and lead more satisfying lives.
The movie wasn’t as good as the book! We hear this comment often. That is a subjective statement but here is why it is often said. When you read a book and turn it into the movie in your head, you usually enjoy your choices more than the directors’ choices!
Read to be happier, healthier and more creative in your life!
I realize I am preaching to the choir, as you are a reader or would not be reading this column. Reading a newspaper provides many of the same benefits.
So why is reading more important than ever?
The world moves at a faster pace and is more competitive than at any point in history. The use of automation is growing and to survive in this global economy, you must be quick on your feet, up-to-date in your field of choice and most importantly, you must be creative. People who are creative are problem solvers. When others cannot find a way, creative people make one. If you want to be relevant and useful, creativity is a necessary component to have in your skill set and nothing exercises, enhances and expands your creative abilities as reading does.
Readers are leaders … so what book are you currently reading?
- GARY W. MOORE is a syndicated columnist, speaker and critically-acclaimed, award-winning author of three books including the bestseller, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and garywmoore.com.