I know that all of you are reading a lot for class, but those are textbooks and study materials. After starting to read regularly myself in 2015, I very strongly believe that everyone should read for pleasure. I’m going to share why reading for pleasure is so beneficial and why I think it’s an incredibly powerful habit to build.
Why You Should Read: Academic Implications
First, as this is Med School Insiders and you are probably a med student, I understand that grades and academic success are a top priority for you. The ability to read competently—and more importantly, to find enjoyment in reading—has huge implications for a student’s academic success.
The Growing Independence Report found that students who loved to read had higher test scores in cognitive and social competencies, math, reading, logical problem-solving, and attitude. They also had better communication skills, better relationships with their families, showed less risky behavior, and had higher levels of motivation towards school. Those who did not enjoy reading were more likely to spend more time watching TV, have past experiences with bullying, and be less enthusiastic about going to school.
Research has also demonstrated that frequent reading for enjoyment correlates with increases in reading achievement. In short, reading regularly and finding pleasure in it will make you a stronger student, which translates to better grades, and improved productivity.
Why You Should Read: Personal Growth & Development
However, grades and academic success aren’t all there is to life. The reason I love reading so much is it allows me to expand my mind and grow in a variety of ways.
Reading places you alongside a complex character (real or fictional) and allows you to peek into their minds, learn from their experiences and wisdom, and ultimately, help you grow and develop into a stronger version of yourself.
Have you ever heard that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with? This relates to the law of averages, which describes that any result is the average of all outcomes. Those who are closest to us influence the way we think, behave, and view the world. So, we should all go out and be best friends with Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Tim Ferris, Melinda Gates, and other influential and successful individuals, right? Ideally, yes — but obviously not everyone can do so. Enter reading. Reading gives you the privilege of gleaning insight from brilliant minds who you would likely never meet in person.
When I was finishing medical school, I realized how financially illiterate most physicians or those pursuing a career in medicine are—myself included. I found some great reads that were excellent introductions to finance, teaching me how to handle loans, how to invest, etc. I highly recommend The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance And Investing by James M. Dahle MD, and I also recommend you check out his excellent blog. Even though I was still a medical student at the time, the book really helped me align myself more strategically to start paying off loans quickly.
How to Make Reading a Regular Habit
You may think you’re too busy to read. I get it—but consider this. If you read five to ten minutes in bed before you go to sleep every night, you will finish at least one to two books per month. If you don’t believe you have five or ten minutes to do that, I recommend visiting my posts on building a schedule and being efficient.
2016 was an incredibly transformative year for me—and I think a large part of that was due the fact that I had started to read regularly and for pleasure. Reading was essentially my keystone habit that instilled in me the discipline and healthy habits to bring about other positive changes in my life.
I was incredibly productive with my research and academic endeavors, started this YouTube channel, created two websites, was featured in a few different news articles in my university newspaper, interviewed at close to two dozen residency programs, and more.
I first bought a Kindle at the suggestion of some friends. Some of you prefer hardcover books, and I totally get that. The feeling of a real book in your hand, the smell, the experience etc., definitely has its appeal. However, the convenience of being able to carry any book I want in a small and slim form, read in the dark, and easily organize and search notes and highlights made the Kindle a clear winner in my book, no pun intended.
Where to Start: Books to Read
Leave a comment below with which book you plan on reading next. If you need ideas, here are few good places to start:
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
- Outliers: Story of Success
- The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life
- Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
- Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
- The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime
- Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
- How to Get Rich: One of the World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Shares His Secrets
- The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance And Investing
- Boglehead’s Guide to Investing
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
- I Will Teach You to Be Rich
- The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness
- When Breath Becomes Air
- An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug, Cocaine
- Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
- The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age
- A Clean Kill in Tokyo: John Rain, Book 1
- How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia: A Novel
- The Red Rising Series
- Ready Player One
- Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Hits and Misses: Stories
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