To all the authors that have shaped me,
Reading isn’t optional. It’s fundamental. It’s central to everything. It’s the very foundation that we build our lives on. In fact, it’s serious business. As Penelope Fitzgerald once said, “Twice in our life you know you are approved by everyone, when you learn to walk and when you learn to read.”
But people don’t read books anymore. Just 54% of Americans opened a book of any kind in 2012 — print or digital, fiction or nonfiction. And, young adults are more likely to read fiction than nonfiction books, whereas Americans aged 75 and older are more likely to read nonfiction books.4
Some even take pride in not reading a book since leaving university, “I haven’t opened a book for five years!” they say. These are the unlucky ones, the downtrodden and even the anti-humans.
Apart from the average American, the average CEO reads 54 books per year! Why the difference? And, why do CEOs continue to read 54 books per year if they’re’ already rich and successful? In fact, in a time of social media, online articles, YouTube, documentaries and video-courses, why do books even exist? Are they still useful? These question and its answers are why I wrote this book.
American adults spend more than 10 hours a day on a screen1 —that’s 2 hours more from 2009.2 And, children spend 6 hours/day on a screen.3 On top of that, those who watch videos aren’t watching educational shows or documentaries but entertainment.
TV is now the equivalent of reading —but it’s not. What writing makes present to the reader, pictures make present to the illiterate. To those who can only perceive visually, good luck. In pictures, the unread sees only the story they ought to —not the stories they shouldn’t see.
We all hear about net-worth, but what about our brain-worth? Our brains are the same as our Sumerian and Egyptian ancestors. But how we use them is what makes the difference. Information has more economic power than ever before. As Francis Bacon said in the 16th century, “Knowledge is power.”
To your success,