Could reading more books actually change our lives? Research suggests that the health benefits of settling in to read (or listen) to a great written work are too great for us to ignore. But how, in a world that seems to reward us for staying busy, do we find the time to sit and read? Well, it’s actually pretty easy! Max Joseph clues us in.

“So many books, so little time.”  ― Frank Zappa

Our attention is pulled in thousands of directions every day. We fritter away our time on social media, negative news, mindless scrolling, and end up missing out on the treasure trove of insights, revelations, and reflections that await us between the pages of the untouched books lining our shelves.

But those books are not only tickets to different realities. No, they also support our health; helping us find calm (reducing stress levels and improving sleep), pointing us to becoming more empathetic, keeping our brains sharp, and even reducing risks of Alzheimer’s. 1

So… how do we find the time to balance the pull of modern media and the age-old wisdom of the page?

The video featured in this article gives us many novel ways to get ourselves reading! Suddenly, the idea of reading over 1,000 books in your life won’t seem daunting at all. Don’t believe me? See what you think in a few minutes.

Image: Books stacked along a wall, lining a doorway

Source: Pixabay

The benefits of losing ourselves in the pages of a book are too great to ignore. So how do we best manage what time we have to put a dent in the stack of unread books that are sitting around our houses right now?

These days, the average American person will spend over 3000 hours a year simply watching TV or scrolling through social media. That’s a lot of time! And according to a Medium article from Charles Chu, in order for us to read 200 books, we only need to carve out 417 hours. 2 Looking at those two figures, it seems totally doable, doesn’t it? But how do we get there?

Max Joseph (who you may recognize from the show Catfish) created an awesome documentary that gives us great tips on how to find the time to make reading a part of lives in simple, life-changing ways!

From chats with great writers, scholars, TED speakers, book fanatics, and even the fastest reader in the world, we’ll learn about the true meaning of reading, and how it can easily fit into all of our lives.

And as we’ll discover, the difference between reading over 1,000 books in our lifetimes versus only a handful is very, very small.

*There are a few swears throughout this video. Sensitive ears be wary!

If you’d like to see more from writer and director, Max Joseph, head over to his website! You’ll see a whole slew of his amazing work. If you’d like to stay up to date, you can also give him a follow on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

Reading. Because of this simple act, we’re given the necessary time to reflect, to learn about others, and to experience moments we may never have the chance to without the words on the page.

It allows us to live as someone else; to travel into a different life and yet, reflect on the one that we’ve been placed in. The possibilities are endless between the pages — and now, with this video, you’ve been gifted with simple ways to experience the most of it. Let’s go over them again, shall we?

  • 30 minutes a day! That’s it, that’s all you need to do. You can sit for 30 minutes, can’t you? Or how about on your commute: can you turn on an audiobook? Of course, you can even stack those 30 minutes for the week into one day if you’d like to spend a few hours with your book! It all comes down to developing the right habit. It’s just that easy.
  • Fall in love. Let yourself fall in love with what you’re reading! Open many books, explore what they offer, and if one doesn’t speak to you, gently close it. Before long, you’ll find the ones who have the stories that pull you in; that urge you to open them any chance you get. It comes down to this: if you don’t love what you’re reading, don’t spend your time there.

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If you want to see a different reality, books are your ticket.

They cost way less than a plane ticket, and offer something you could have never accessed on your own.

It’s an amazing world out there, and your experience here is only one of the billions that have existed. Generations of thought leaders have put their minds and their stories on pages for us to explore. They have penned the secrets to life, exposed our follies, and given us the chance to fall in love repeatedly.

Hugh McGuire wrote this about the impact of books in his great piece for Medium:

“Books are not just transferrers of knowledge and emotion, but a special kind of tool that flattens one self into another, that enable the trying-on of foreign ideas and emotions.” 4

(Hugh’s piece examines his own struggle with reading more books in this digital filled life and the ways he has resolved to bring them back into his routine. It’s a fascinating read that may just remind you of your own experience. Here’s the link if you’d like to read it in full!)

How great is it that one day you can be a spy, another a gentleman walking through the streets of Paris in the 1700s, and the next you’re a woman exploring what it may be like after death? With every experience with a book, you’re given another layer to this life.

We live in a time where reading has never been easier.

Now, books can be brought with us anywhere, loaded onto the many devices that accompany our daily lives. Audio and digital books have changed the game! They help us turn the most mundane of moments (sitting on a train or waiting for your number to be called at the DMV) into a fascinating adventure.

There are endless possibilities. All we have to do is stay open to them!

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Notes:

  1. Schocker, Laura. “6 Science-Backed Reasons To Go Read A Book Right Now.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/health-benefits-reading_n_4081258?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAA28vq-r127wvErwBoRw-uj3x9sCoAeDRPv3X90ET-svgLu8-38-ohGq3VeTvFfFiNcoSAM9zT0yEFU3knoD7h9nf_ccRwdGw1nAwS0oKRsO5wP3Co3QI1gPXzDEPx0WCXCK_Icth9U6fjMd2BirrPyIDMyIDAxiojCC8DQcymzb. Accessed 18 July 2019.
  2. Chu , Charles. “The Simple Truth Behind Reading 200 Books a Year.” Medium, Medium, 7 Jan. 2017, medium.com/s/story/the-simple-truth-behind-reading-200-books-a-year-1767cb03af20. Accessed 1 Aug. 2019.
  3. Joseph, Max. “BOOKSTORES: How to Read More Books in the Golden Age of Content.” Vimeo, Max Joseph, 22 Apr. 2019, vimeo.com/331908835. Accessed 18 July 2019. 
  4. McGuire, Hugh. “Why Can’t We Read Anymore? – Hugh McGuire.” Medium, Medium, 15 May 2015, medium.com/@hughmcguire/why-can-t-we-read-anymore-503c38c131fe. Accessed 18 July 2019.

Samantha Burns

Chief Administrative Officer, Lead Staff Writer

Samantha is a listener, creator, collector of knick knacks and lover of most, if not all, types of cheese.