Creative Leadership

In a Video Age, Why Reading Still Matters

You don’t need another lecture on the importance of reading books. You get it, but honestly, who has the time anymore? Plus, we can catch most books when they become movies on Netflix, or I can check the summaries from websites, right? Wrong. Speaking and working in England this month has reminded me just how important the written word has been for the development of ideas and civilization.

This photo for this post is the office and library of Benjamin Disraeli, England’s Prime Minister during the Victorian Age. His father Isaac was a scholar and writer, and bequeathed him 25,000 books. To pay off family debt, Disraeli sold most of that collection, but still retained 4,000 volumes.

We visited numerous historic manor houses of former leaders on this trip, and in almost every case, the library was the most treasured room. But today when I travel, I’m far more likely to see people watching a movie or playing a video game than reading a book.

But in today’s age of political correctness, trigger warnings, safe spaces, and micro-agressions, there’s never been a more important time to confront challenging ideas. In the West, we’re seeing our freedom of speech and expression slipping away day by day, and we must do everything we can to keep new ideas coming forward.

All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil. – Benjamin Disraeli

There’s precious little you could do that would help your career, calling, and curiosity more than reading significant books. You’ll discover new worlds, and I’m confident it will re-invigorate your purpose.

Anyone else addicted to reading as much as I am?

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  1. Since I am a pastor I do have an extensive library and try to read books that will further me along in my calling, but also in life in general. Even the best selling book of all time (the Bible) gets shelved and barely read by many Christians, very sad. What is also interesting is that there is something to be said about having a book in your hand and reading it. I have an enormous electronic library, kindle and through my Bible software program, and I have tried to switch over to just electronic, but I just can’t. There is something about looking at the written page, absorbing the meaning of the message of the book, meditating on what is said in a book and going back to look at it in a time of need, you can picture in on the page, what a resource. Not to toot your horn, but I appreciate you writing your books. They speak clearly and are significant for today. If I have a subject I am struggling to deal with, I look to my library.

    1. Feel free to toot my horn anytime you like Mark! 🙂 Actually, I’m doing something similar. I spent the last year or so reading books on a Kindle, and for a number of reasons, I’m going back to print. I’ll keep the Kindle for traveling (can’t beat that), but I’m a serial underliner, and especially when I’m reading for research, I want to write notes, and mark things up. That’s why I’ll shift back to print. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. I am a Transformation Life Coach and an avid reader…”Unique and One Big Thing” changed my life! Please share other suggestive significant books.

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