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Why reading is of benefit, professionally

In our modern digital society, the old-fashioned book is becoming more and more necessary. Our attention spans are shrinking and our patience runs thin. We spend most of our time wasting time and not utilising it. This puts us at a social and professional disadvantage. However, reading can combat this.

Studies show that reading has many benefits professionally and personally, including:

  • Broadening one’s mind – Reading books on various topics and situations whether fiction or fact, will allow you to look at other perspectives whilst simultaneously adding to what you have learned throughout your life.
  • Increases intelligent – By reading about various topics you are bound to learn more whether it is about a particular subject or about people in general and relationships. You always learn something when you read no matter whether you are reading a trashy romance novel or the Encyclopaedia. It is recommended, however, that you have variance and diversity.
  • Sharpens Memory – The act of reading works the various parts of your brain. Think of it like training a muscle; you have to work it to strengthen it. In addition, some studies suggest that reading may also help fend off Alzheimer’s.
    Reduces stress – reading for six minutes can reduce stress by 68%!
  • Improves analytical thinking – Studies by Anne E. Cunningham (PhD in Developmental Psychology from University of Michigan) have found that analytical thinking is increased by reading. Thus allowing the reader to analyse and pick out patterns faster.
  • Increases vocabulary – Reading is said to teach you more about vocabulary than an average conversation. This is because reading exposes you to words you might not come across every day and forces you to concentrate on them as you actively read them. A broader vocabulary is a great benefit as knowing what other people are saying and using the perfect words to convey your own feelings is critical in life as well as in the workplace.
  • Improves writing skills – Being exposed to writing allows you to pick up a few things at both an active and subconscious level. Thus your writing will improve the more you are exposed to the writing of others.
    Improves concentration and focus – Practice makes perfect and reading is a great (and enjoyable) way to practice.
  • Improves creativity – Being exposed to various topics and creations of other’s imaginations only helps to cultivate and add to your own.
  • Boosts relationships – Reading novels can also make one more empathetic and understanding of social cues, allowing oneself to better work with and understand others.

Deep, broad reading habits are often said to be a defining characteristic of great leaders and pioneers such as Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs. People said to have these characteristics are also more likely to have pay raises and promotions in their career. As an added bonus, reading makes you a better listener and listeners are more successful in life.

In conclusion, what’s one of the best things you can do for your career? Read; as broadly and as much as you can.

 

References:

John Coleman, 2012, ‘For those who want to lead, read’, Harvard Business Review, https://hbr.org/2012/08/for-those-who-want-to-lead-rea

Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich, n.d., ‘What reading does for the mind’, California State University Northbridge, http://www.csun.edu/~krowlands/Content/Academic_Resources/Reading/Useful%20Articles/Cunningham-What%20Reading%20Does%20for%20the%20Mind.pdf

Keith E. Stanovich, 1993,‘Does reading make you smarter? Literacy and the development of verbal intelligence’, U.S National Library of Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8447247

Glen, 2014, ‘8 Benefits of Reading (or Ways Reading Makes You Better at Life)’, LifeDev, http://lifedev.net/2009/06/reading-makes-you-better/

Unknown, n.d. ‘The 26 major advantages to reading more books and why 3 in 4 people are being shut out of success’,  http://www.persistenceunlimited.com/2007/12/the-26-major-advantages-to-reading-more-books-and-why-3-in-4-people-are-being-shut-out-of-success/

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The Clunes Book Festival

Once a year in the little country town of Clunes, book lovers flock to the area in search of new books to add to their libraries. Here readers and collectors can search amongst the stalls to find their own hidden treasures, lunch with the authors they admire, listen to music, watch street performers, take a horse and cart ride and talk books with other literary lovers. There is music, food, fashion and accessories and most importantly books. There are also activities for children like the hay bale maze, readings, stalls, and a very cute parade filled with wizardry enthusiasts.

This year was my first year attending the festival. I had been wanting to go for years and I was not disappointed in the slightest. They had everything from new releases to books published hundreds of years ago. Some stalls are overpriced (as some people markup for events like this) but most were reasonable and there were a lot of bargains.

I picked up quite a few different purchases throughout the day.
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Who was Dracula? Bram Stoker’s Trail of Blood‘ by Jim Steinmeyer – Steinmeyer is an acclaimed historian who delves deeper into the original story of Dracula, it’s history and depictions over the centuries. He is also the author of ‘The Last Greatest Magician in the World‘. I love history, myths, legends and fables – the story of Dracula, and Steinmeyer’s book, certainly encompasses all of that.
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A beautiful red version of ‘A Clever Daughter‘ by Mrs Henry Clarke M.A. This book was gorgeous and I am always a sucker for a beautiful book. This was also obviously well loved and I was right. The seller said she had had that book for over 50 years and had loved it since she was a child. I had to take it then. All books deserve to be loved.

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A gorgeous black leather bound book of John Milton’s Poetry. The book was obviously well loved and cared for. Seeing such a book I had to take it home to ensure it would continue to be loved in the way it deserved. I have wanted to own my own book of Milton since studying Poetry in high school and read excerpts of perhaps one of the most famous works of poetry of all time – Paradise Lost. Poetry can be an acquired taste but once you understand and pull it apart, it is well worth the investment of time and discussion.

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Heidi‘ by Johanna Spyri- beautifully illustrated by Lizzie Lawson. This book has been on my ‘To read’ list for years. How could I pass up such a beautiful edition?
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Bonnie Scotland‘ painted by Sutton Palmer and described by A.R. Hope Moncrieff – I bought this as a gift for my Grandmother. She’s always wanted to go to Scotland but never went. I thought she could at least own something that could describe Scotland to her and show her what it looked like. Something to show and describe to her the homeland her father spoke of so fondly. Something she could own and hold.
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I bought two Nancy Drew books By Carolyn Keene; ‘The Triple Hoax‘ and ‘The Flying Saucer Mystery‘ – I loved these books growing up and I still buy and read any I come across.
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Three Edmund Dulac Illustrated Books: ‘Edmund Dulac’s Fairy-Book‘, ‘The Dreamer of Dreams‘ by the Queen of Roumania, ‘Edmund Dulac’s Picture-Book for the French Red Cross‘ – Dulac is a French-born, British Illustrator who was one of the great figures from the Golden Age of Illustration. His illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and well worth collecting and investing in. I had not heard of him since I came across this books. But I instantly fell in love with his artwork.

Aren’t they all gorgeous? I was so happy with all my purchases! I love them all! I must admit, quite a bit of money was spent but it is worth it in the end. To own such beautiful stories, books and illustrations. To hold them and be able to hand it down and share them with people I love and who I know will love it as well. That is why I buy books. To ensure they are loved as they deserve.

If you want to find your own treasures at the Clunes Book Festival, it occurs in early May each year. Tickets are available on-line and at the door. I highly recommend you go!

 

Feature image was taken from Clunes Booktown Facebook page

All images are mine unless otherwise stated.

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