The Habit of Reading: A Thirst for Knowledge

Posted: January 9, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I got my earliest introduction to the pleasures of reading, from my father. He was an avid reader, and consumed a lot of books. He was very diligent with some of his self-development and management boos reading. He would make notes, re-read the chapters, and in short, ensure that he absorbs the book to the max.

I picked up the habit and would read a reasonable amount of books and magazines, when I could. I used to read fiction as a student, but have more or less stopped reading fiction for last 10-15 years. I get all my fixes of fiction from movies!

But I have tried to keep pace with non-fictional reading all these years.

During the period of 9-10 years when we were nurturing our Internet startup, Homeindia.com, time was really sparse. And the reading volumes fell significantly. I used to miss reading, and used to feel miserable when I did not read a book for 4-5 months sometimes.

But then, I discovered audio books! They were a God sent. I had long commutes to work, and I managed to use these well, while devouring one audio book after another. It was a great habit to form again.

While a printed book is always a preference, as you can stay on a page, ponder over the thought, think about how it fits your own situation, before turning the page over, the same is not possible in an audio book. The audio book keeps moving ahead, and you have to strive to ensure that you keep the concentration. But this one disadvantage aside, I value the fact that I can at least manage to cover books, rather than not doing so at all!

I graduated further, after a couple of years, to the iPod. And this opened up so many more avenues. For one, the audiobooks came on the iPod, so I did not need to carry CDs around.

But more importantly, with the iPod, I got introduced to the world of Podcasts. I have over time, subscribed to so many different topics of podcasts, and these have enriched me across a wide variety of subjects, and I have enjoyed them tremendously.

I continue to listen to podcasts and read audio books, regularly, now, on the iPod.

What saddens me as I look around me – to my friends, family, colleagues – is that they all read so litle these days. In fact I see a drastic reduction also in the newspaper reading habits.

How will these people enhance their knowledge, their skills? The knowledge on any subject stays so superficial without the accompanied reading support?!

I am so glad for my interest to read, and for having hit upon audio books and the iPod, which have been able to keep my reading habit going strong!

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Comments
  1. Romit Mehta says:

    It is sad, but such is the life we live nowadays. Ad-hoc knowledge gathering is the norm now, and for whatever information you need there is always going to be a website – Yahoo, Wikipedia, etc. – that will provide it to you.

    As for audio books and podcasts (analogous to printed books and magazines/newspapers), they will provide information, but they will not increase reading habits. It is important to note that what is needed today is the habit of reading and not just knowledge gathering.

    Sadly, in this day and age we are always going to be “too busy” to read. I hope I am wrong.

    • wisdominhindsight says:

      Romit,
      What you say is write.
      Ad-hoc knowledge however, gives you what you need, when you need it. But genuine reading and broadening of the mind as a result, tells you WHAT you need. That is the big difference and which is getting missed out, in the pretext of the busy life. Life is as busy as one wants to make it. And of course, you have a choice to fill your day the way you would like to. In recent days, I have eliminated even glancing through the tabloid, Mumbai Mirror, and will soon abandon the Bombay Times too. Does not add any value to my life, I realized. It’s just an example. Likewise, to identify some routine things that we keep doing, without realizing their value to us, and if they are not adding value of any kind, then to remove them. And free ourselves to pursue other interests. Reading being one of the options!
      I would also believe that Audio Books and Podcasts are quite alike actual book reading in today’s times. Especially audio books. It’s not like you are just picking a bit of information on ad-hoc basis. You are going over the complete surmise that the author is presenting on the subject, and allowing yourself, to potentially be influenced by that, to the extent of changing your own thought process to an extent, thereafter. It’s not trivial, then..

  2. […] know for sure, I am very different from the person that I was, 10-15 years back. For me, besides books and reading, which I have talked about earlier, the few life-changing events have […]

  3. Ashwin says:

    It is interesting that you mention how reading fiction has fallen off and you are into non-fiction. Same has happened to my reading. I tried audio books and podcast too, but didn’t enjoy them much.

    • wisdominhindsight says:

      Ashwin,
      If you have a long commute, then audio books are a very good way to use that time. Typically if you are driving or if you are in a train, it’s not that comfortable to read books. Maybe you never had a long commute to worry about 🙂
      – Sanjay

  4. Terrence H. says:

    You gave honest ideas there. I would find out for the concern and also got many peoples will trust your blog site.

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