The perks of reading and the benefits are well documented. Yet what is the flip side? Ever wondered if there are any downsides?
Coming from a site that advocates reading, promote ways to read at low or no costs, this will be an interesting post to explore the possibilities and downsides reading may bring.
Not all successful people are readers
It’s because high achievers are keen on self-improvement. Hundreds of successful executives have shared with me the books that have helped them get where they are today.
Yet is it only by reading?
Readingequips with the necessary skills and preps the mindset. There are other factors and things that are required for success too. Example? Hands-on experience of doing it, lady luck for chance and opportunities, experimentations of other possibilities to discover new and better ways to succeed. And many more.
Case in point and the need for proofs? Here are 5 successful people who are not readers:
- Kanye West
- Fleur Pellerin
- Donald Trump
- Meghan Trainor
- Brian Krzanich
The incessant want for perfection
Reading motivational or self-help books will have the want to for further improvements. And there is no limitation. There will always be a constant hunger to be better, like a rat in the rat race, churning and chasing for that target and it comes another target.
Improvements and upgrades are good. The constant want to improve is not. So there is a need to understand this. Books give the right path but it is up to one to walk.
Reading fiction helps but…
According to research conducted at the University of Toronto, study participants who read short-story fiction experienced far less need for “cognitive closure” compared with counterparts who read nonfiction essays.
One hundred participants were assigned to read either an essay or a short story (out of a set of 8 essays and 8 short stories matched for length, reading difficulty, and interest). After reading, their need for cognitive closure was assessed. As hypothesized, when compared to participants in the essay condition, participants in the short story condition experienced a significant decrease in the self-reported need for cognitive closure. The effect was particularly strong for participants who were habitual readers (of either fiction or non-fiction). These findings suggest that reading fictional literature could lead to better procedures for processing information generally, including those of creativity.
Essentially, they tested as more open-minded, compared with the readers of essays. “Although nonfiction reading allows students to learn the subject matter, it may not always help them in thinking about it,” the authors write. “A physician may have an encyclopedic knowledge of his or her subject, but this may not prevent the physician from seizing and freezing on a diagnosis when additional symptoms point to a different malady.”
When that happens, simple mundane tasks will be torturous. The learned mind cannot unlearn. What is simple and enjoyable might not after.
Reading is a torture
Sitting in a comfortable armchair, sipping a hot coffee or tea in a cool room reading a nice title. Notice the thing here? All the 3 factors have to be of an enjoyable activity.
Now change that to a dry and yawning title with a horribly dry subject matter. Even with the comfortable armchair in a cooling room is not desirable anymore.
Reading is not a normal and preferred human activity since the early humans, as well as Neanderthals and Homo erectus. It is only some 5,000 years ago, with our brains suddenly acquiring the specific ability to make sense of letters.
Comparing to the very very first mankind within the timeline of human evolution, reading is a learnt activity. It is not something we are born with. Certainly.
In a nutshell
Reading for success is both boring and tiring. Reading is, and will never be an enjoyable activity if there is a certain agenda to be fulfilled. All roads lead to Rome, and there are myriad ways to gather knowledge. Reading happens to be one of many ways. With the gained knowledge, the mind changes with evolved perspectives. What seems to be thrilling and fun may not be any more after. If humans are supposed to read, then the very first man would be able to read.
So back to the question, why should you read at all?