Reading is easy. At least for me. It is something I enjoy tremendously and the reasons why are best left for another article. What is tough or was tough for me in the past was getting myself to read. I think this is the problem with most people when it comes to reading. The mental preparation and truly, especially for younger people the procrastination that is grown in our consciousness from the usage of social media and smartphones.
Yet books rewire our brain differently than looking at a screen. In his video titled Dystopian Fiction: How Reading Transforms Your Mind, the creator of the youtube channel Just Write, discusses in extension the benefit of reading through the comparison of the books 1984 and Brave New World in the context of disallowing and over allowing the reading of books. He concludes that reading makes us better humans because they make us more social in our ability to better understand emotions, seeing and experiencing the world from the stories and by default through the perspective of the characters in them.
Understanding concepts like that inspired me to create the Law of 5 Books a Year. What that means is that no matter what, I will read at least 5 books in the year. They are not a lot but they aren’t very few. They are a good amount for anyone aspiring to get knowledge. Like every skill acquisition reading has its levels. The 5 books constitute paradoxically a beginner and an experienced reading phase. That is because books aren’t measured in quantity but in quality. This is why the Law of 5 books is a perfect medium between quality and knowledge and why even experienced readers may end up reading only five books per year.
”Low-quality books are read slow, while good books are read fast and easily” is a nice little quote that doesn’t always hold true because sometimes you don’t rush a good book but let it accompany you through the days. I created this law back in 2014 when I first started my university tuition and is one I keep every year even though I exceed this number now.
As a result, I will list the 6 books that I had read in the spun-off 8 months from the beginning of 2017 until summer providing additional information for each book.
The Glass Cage
The Glass Cage is a book written by Nicholas Carr. Starting his book Carr focuses on automation in aircraft flight and vehicle driving providing the reader with plethora of information about the dangers of trusting our technology too much to do our job for us. He later goes on to tap into how our computers and specifically our smartphones can greatly affect our inner self and behavior towards our surroundings. Specifically, Carr recognizes that,
The human brain in incapable of concetrating on two things at once. Every glance or swipe at a touchscreen draws us away from our immediate surroundings. With a smartphone in hand, we become a little ghostly, wavering between worlds. People have always been distractible, of course. Minds wander. Attention drifts. But we’ve never carried on our person a tool that so insistenly captivates our senses and divides our attention. By connecting us to a symbolic elsewhere, the smartphone, as Brin impied, exiles us from the here and now. We lose the power of presence.
Why read this book: If you are interested in learning more about how the ever-evolving technology is affecting our every day lives then this is a book worth reading. It produces a realistic and viable perspective filled with information on the benefits and the dangers surrounding the machinery that we use every single day while spending billions of dollars every year to upgrade.
The Old Man & The Sea
Written by undoubtedly one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man & The Sea is a story of an old Cuban fisherman and his relentless and agonizing pursuit of capturing a giant marlin taking place into the Gulf Stream.
“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
Why read this book: In a little more than a hundred pages Hemingway manages through his writing style, metaphors and use of language to convey the human spirit and the strength that we exert in times of struggle knowing that it is worth living. This book despite its size is unmatchable, a classic and must read for everyone.
Extreme Ownership is a book written by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, both former U.S Navy Seals who fought in the Battle of Ramadi and were members of the highest decorated special operations unit in the War of Iraq, Task Unit Bruiser. Taking the lessons they learned from the battlefield and the leadership principles applied in their teams like ” Decentralized Command”, ”Prioritize and Execute” and of course ”Extreme Ownership”, Jocko and Leif provide the tools which the reader can use in their life and business to win.
“Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.”
Why read this book: If you are an aspiring leader, business owner or simply a folk who want to better himself this is a book for you. Learning how to be decisive, precise and most importantly owning everything in a situation without making excuses and blaming others does not only build character but inspires respect by the people around you.
Originally written in Greek, Meditations is the inclusive, self-indulging writing by-product of the only Roman emperor who was a philosopher as well, Marcus Aurelius. In his writings, Marcus delves deeply into human life, virtue, morality, doubt, despair, and conviction. Despite being his personal notes, Marcus succeeded without any intention to create one of the greatest works of philosophy that have provided consultation and advice for statesmen, thinkers, leaders, and readers throughout the centuries.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Why read this book: Timeless essays are hard to find. It is remarkable to realize that more than two thousand years ago a man meditated on the same principles and matters that are still agonizing the thinking mind. This isn’t a book directed only to philosophers. It is a book for humans.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
I bought this book back in the summer of 2012, a teenager wanting to learn how to become rich. I spent a couple of weeks reading it almost finishing it before coming to the realization that I didn’t fully understand the concepts that Kiyosaki so simply elaborates. Five years, and a lot of economic studies later I was able to easily and with fascination re-read this book only to find out that it is less about money and more about human behavior in relation to money. Being rich is a state of mind followed by a set of day to day actions.
“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”
Why read this book: Using the stories of his two fathers, one being his biological dad and one his mentor, Kiyosaki teaches us how to better understand simple finance. Following the ideas and principles shared in the book won’t make you a millionaire from one day to the next but will definitely aid you in the management of your earning and spending. Money is means to an end and nothing more. We tend to overcomplicate these flashy rectangle papers that serve the purpose of moving the cycle of the economy. Discover how to use them and better your chances of gaining financial freedom.
Ether, God, Devil & Cosmic Superimposition
First published in 1949, Ether, God, Devil & Cosmic Superimposition is a book from Willhem Reich describing his life’s work about Man, thinking and the discovery of cosmic orgone energy. In Cosmic Superimposition, Reich steps beyond the character structure of man to an understanding of how man is rooted in nature. The superimposition of two orgone-energy systems which is demonstrable in the genital embrace is revealed as a common functioning principle that exists in all of nature. Concluding this work, Reich returns to the human sphere “to ponder about the greatest riddle of all: the ability of man to think, and by mere thinking to know what nature is and how it works.”¹
“In recent times, more and more human thinking has come to assume that the idea of a universal natural law and the idea of ‘God’ are pointing to one and the same reality.”
Why read this book: Reich offers a better understanding of the energy that surrounds us and flows through us. While you may not subscribe to his ideas and thoughts it is definitely a must-read for someone with an open mind who wants to better understand our existence in the cosmos.
These were a few of the books that accompanied me this past year. As 2017 is slowly coming to an end it is good to reflect on the ideas and opinions that have shaped and help us develop our character. Of course, ideas and opinions can come from anywhere and anyone. Books are probably the only set of beliefs that we choose to add to our thinking minds, implement in our lives for the development of better habits and character.
Consider the Law of 5 Books A Year. This serves both as a goal and a habit. Besides learning, reading increases our sense of accomplishment in the same way engaging in social media does but with actual benefits and value. The law is easily achieved and the sense of accomplishment will translate into more motivation for life. Oversimplifying, more reading equals more life.
- Source: Goodreads