Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind

The study, published recently in Social Science Research, assessed data from 160,000 adults from 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Turkey, Japan and Chile. Participants filled out surveys with the Programme for the International Assessment of Competencies, which measures proficiency in three categories: literacy, numeracy (using mathematical concepts in everyday life) and information communication technology, (using digital technology to communicate with other people, and to gather and analyze information).

Respondents, who ranged in age from 25 to 65, were asked to estimate how many books were in their house when they were 16 years old. The research team was interested in this question because home library size can be a good indicator of what the study authors term “book-oriented socialization.” Participants were able to select from a given range of books that included everything from “10 or less” to “more than 500.”

The effects were most marked when it came to literacy. Growing up with few books in the home resulted in below average literacy levels. Being surrounded by 80 books boosted the levels to average, and literacy continued to improve until libraries reached about 350 books, at which point the literacy rates leveled off. The researchers observed similar trends when it came to numeracy; the effects were not as pronounced with information communication technology tests, but skills did improve with increased numbers of books.

Interesting research findings.  Read the source article here.

Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year.  We. Are. Doomed.

Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year

“Think about how difficult it must be to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook when you’ve been used to spending most of your time switching between one digital activity and another in a matter of seconds,” she added. “It really highlights the challenges students and faculty both face in the current era.”

My source article

My random thoughts:

  • ADHD
  • Bad parenting
  • Technology addiction
  • Social media is not social
  • Social media is evil
  • The slow agonizing death of newspapers
  • Colleges and universities will be challenged
  • Put the cellphone down and keep your hands where I can see them.

There is a link to the full study in the source article.

Read a Book a Week – Get (almost) Free Books

What do you do with books after they have been read?

  • Build a library
  • Clutter the house or apartment
  • Rent a storage unit

Like most avid readers I like to keep a lot of my books.  So I’m into bullet points 1 & 2.  But to avoid bullet point 3 you need a plan.  My plan is to give most of my books away.  I’ve created a sidebar link that will take you to a list of available books on Bookins.  The only cost to you will be S&H charges.  Check it out.

Read a Book a Week (or 0.9846)

I came up short in my 2008 efforts to read a book a week.  Every year I have the same goal – read a book a week.  Hitting or exceeding that number is not the point.  The point of this simple exercise in goal setting is establishing motivation to read.  The beauty is in the simplicity.  One.  You know when you are on track.  You know when you are off the pace.

Last year I read or listened to 40 books.  I got busy with other stuff and my reading got less time.  But the end of 2008 marked the completion of five years of practicing this simple success strategy.  Over that time period, I have read 256 books or 0.9846 books per week.  So while I missed my goal in the short term, over the longer term I am reading about one book a week.

Here are some strategies I plan on using in 2009 to raise my average to 1.0:

  • More audio-books.  You can get a lot of “reading” done by listening.  This is especially effective when exercising.
  • Find little blocks of time to read.  Get up 30 minutes earlier and read.  Listen to a book in your car on your way and from work.  Read when you’re waiting in a line.
  • Read something you normally don’t read.  Personally, this means less business books and more fiction.

Tune in next year, same place.  I’ll report on my 6 year average which, hopefully, will be >1.0.

B as in Books – How to Read a Book a Week

“You will always have your brain with you (until that time when brain transplants are done and you may have someone else’s brain).”

Dale Dubin MD

There is some advice that has been around for a long time. Great ideas stick around. (BAD IDEAS stick around too, but that’s another story). Today’s post is about a great idea that comes with a ironclad guarantee. The guarantee is this:

Read a book a week and you will achieve success in your work and your life.

Most of the people you know don’t have the motivation or discipline to read a book a week. Or they may regard this idea as a foundation for a better future and greater personal success as nonsense. I make this audacious guarantee because I know the answer to the following questions:

How many people do you know read a book a week?

Do you know of any successful individuals who don’t read a lot?

Most of the people who learn about my peculiar reading habit give me a handy excuse for not reading a book a week. Some even get a little defensive, others apologetic.

“I don’t have time. Who has the time anyway?”

Well kids, you make time for what is important. In this time starved society of ours you need just a little bit of creativity to find the time to read. Here’s a list of some practical strategies to read a book a week.

Always Have a Book

Think about the time you spend waiting in lines. If you had a book you could easily squeeze in 5 to 10 minutes of reading. Think of other situations where you could grab 10-15 minutes of reading time. I always bring a book to the barbershop. If you have a book, you can always squeeze in a few minutes of reading.

Watch Less Television…Play Less Video Games

Personally, I stopped playing video games because I was never any good at them. I don’t watch a lot of television. I read.

Be Selective in What You Read

Try to read with purpose. Are you reading for entertainment or to learn something? If you’re trying to learn something, what are you trying to learn? At any given time I am reading between 8 and 10 different books. What you choose to read is not only a function of your personality and interests but also of your mood. I tried to read and finish a complete book before starting another but failed. Quirky yes, but this reading style works for me. Try it.

Read What Interests YOU

At any given moment I am totally and completely unable to tell you which books are on any best seller list. I’m simply not interested in what is selling well. I’m much more interested in books that interest me. We often associate bad feelings with reading because while in school we were forced to read what we were told to read. Well, no one is telling you what to read anymore. Read something, anything you want to learn a little more about.

Listen to Audiobooks

Whether in your car or your iPod, audiobooks are a fantastic way to get more “reading” done in the time you have. Try listening to a book while on the treadmill. This is my kind of multi-tasking.

So where will all of this reading? If practiced with a little bit of passion and purpose your reading will bring a great deal of knowledge and a development of an awareness of the world we live in. When you read a new book every week, you condition your mind to continuously take in new knowledge. Your thinking remains fresh and sharp. Your brain is always churning on new ideas, looking for connections, and synthesizing the input.

Just this afternoon I finished half of Dr. Dubin’s classic Rapid Interpretation of EKG’s. I’m getting more out of this book now than the first time I read it.

Quirky, yes.
So what was the title of the last book you read? And how long ago was that?