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📚Why you should “bookend” your day

“I would never read a book. I don’t want to say no book is ever worth reading, but I actually do believe something close to that…If you wrote a book, you f—-ked up, and it should be a six paragraph blog post.” - Sam Bankman-Fried, disgraced CEO of failed crypto currency exchange FTX, recently arrested Sorry Sam, but we need to read books. Yes, but: We weren’t born to read. We’re biologically designed for vision and language, but not for reading. When we learn to read we create new brain circuitry that begins as simply being able to decode words and evolves into being able to immerse ourselves in new worlds. How we read, whether we skim or challenge ourselves with deep reading, literally changes our brains. 💡The big idea from cognitive scientist and scholar of reading, Maryanne Wolf: Reading changes the way you think. The quality of your reading affects the quality of your thinking. And the quality of your thinking affects the quality of your life.

So that you form an accurate mental picture, here is reading scholar Maryanne Wolf

Deep reading, the kind of reading that enables you to lose yourself in a book, helps you to:

  • think more deeply, critically and imaginatively

  • take on the perceptions and feelings of others

  • build a foundation of knowledge

  • use what you've read as a jumping off point to discover your own wisdom

Shallow reading, the tl;dr (too long didn’t read) skimming of the digital era makes us:

  • less likely to remember much about the 100,000 words we gloss over each day

  • more likely to be seduced by disinformation

  • more susceptible to the illusion of knowledge such that we don't know what we don't know

  • more cognitively impatient — easily bored, frustrated by complexity, and constantly in search of something new and entertaining

  • less likely to engage in contemplative thought that can make our lives better

The bottom line: Reading deeply will not only give you the pleasure of immersing yourself in an entirely different world, but it will make you more empathetic, more intellectually flexible, and wiser. If deep reading is brain circuitry you haven't used in a while, it may have weakened, but can be restored. (Btw, I acknowledge the irony of imploring you to read deeply in an article intentionally designed to be skimmed.) Do it now: (Re)train your ability to read deeply by bookending your day with 20 minutes of reading a physical book first thing in the morning before you reach for your phone, and 20 minutes in the evening as you unwind to prepare your body and mind for sleep. My experience with deep reading: From my earliest primary school report cards, teachers remarked that I had a tendency to skim, a skill that I have perfected in my digital adulthood. But there was a time when I studied for an undergraduate degree in English that I was able to read deeply. After graduation, to engage in some pleasurable time travel, I read Victorian novels that typically run over 500 pages. Since digital reading became my main source of information, my deep reading brain circuit has atrophied. Attempting to build it up again, I dove into the acclaimed novel Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, a book that's over 600 pages because I accidentally ordered the large print edition...

I find that I'll get into a relaxing reading rhythm for a few pages, enter the world of Sadie and Sam, then, nudged by an image in the book, I’ll wander off into my own thoughts and will soon feel an overwhelming urge to reach for my phone. Or I’ll become impatient for the dopamine hit of a chapter break and flip to see how many pages I have left. But whenever I’m tempted to stop trying to read deeply, I recall this quote: “I actually haven’t read any book.” - Kanye West And this quote: “The reading brain is the canary in our minds. We would be the worst of fools to ignore what it has to teach us…I read both to find fresh reason to love this world and also to leave this world—to enter a space to glimpse what lies beyond my imagination, outside my knowledge and my experience of life.” - Maryanne Wolf What are you reading? The first person to respond to this question at receives a gift certificate for more reading material. 🔋 Get charged up on reading with:

🚨 Get a Quick Charge out of these: 🦮 Walk your dog and reduce your dementia risk, and the dementia risk for your dog! 🎁 How to be a great gift giver. It's time for every company to become a wellness company. 🇩🇰 The Danish guide to holiday stress relief. Go on a self-date. The Recharge Quote of the Week is from author Ann Patchett who has repurposed her meditation cushion for deep thinking about her writing.

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