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Developing the Habit of Reading  

2010-07-28 14:34:29|  分类: 海外 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Developing the Habit of Reading - 玉朵蔷薇 - 人不疯狂枉年少

"Readers are Leaders" -- a western axiom simply and boldly put. Being Chinese we are familiar with the importance of study in schools, as in general the higher degree will open more windows to well-paid jobs. But how about after graduated from school? Are adults still working hard like youth, read books daily? The answer is probably no. According to a statistics, 80% of American families purchased only one books in twelve months, which means most people only read one book per year. This is the gloomy number that happened in USA, but how about China? The number would probably not that auspicious and beautiful at all.

Books are the source of knowledge and the power that even can build up and also tear down a nation. At 213 B.C. Emperor of Qin issued the order to burn books and slaughter scholars. In sixteen century religion fanatics in Europe devised a plan to burn all Jewish books for particular reasons, "... These [Jewish] books are written to oppose the Christians, They are offensive to Jesus, Maria, and the apostles....", Johann Reuchlin told in his book, and also the Bible at middle-age centuries was only allowed to be read by high level person in the Roman Catholic church. Today people want to be successful in their career ladder, financial status, social class and respectable reputation, so the competition is so fierce and unbearable. But which is the fastest route to become rich and success? The answer should be the books. Brian Tracy told in his compelling book Time Power : "... The Guaranteed Formula for getting Rich is to invest as much in your mind each year."  Basically what he suggested is to invest a portion of monthly income to buy books and read them at least one hour every day, he continues, "... and you will become an expert in your filed after three years and an international authority after seven years." He also indicated if you visit a wealthy family, what is the most noticeable thing you will see is a library full of books. If you visit poor families, yes, you will see no books but a large TV whatever they can afford. Although I am not completely agree with this point because in China, things could be slightly different than America, however in general this is a statement universally applicable.

Read a book at least one hour everyday? "Give a break. I am very busy in the daytime and awfully tired after home, no spare time for the book at all!" This would be the typical response of most adults when been asked to devote one hour on the reading. Well, the time to spend with book could be very flexibly planned, not always necessary to be pitched in the slot of evening. But evening hours should be good candidate for books, if we pull our eyes from the computer and television. The fact is, majority of people spending their valuable evening hours in "non-intelligent" activities, "... They spent much of their time socializing at work and at home, watching television and generally living as easy a life as possible." continues Brian Tracy, "... they drift along, generally unaware that their knowledge is limited and whatever knowledge they have is becoming obsolete with each passing day." Former Intel CEO, Andrew Grove in his book Only the Paranoid Survive, also put: "The sad news is, nobody owes you a career, your career is literally your business.... It is your responsibility to protect this personal business of yours from harm..." With the swarm of new grads flood to job market each year, plus inordinate amount of working people want to seeking better jobs, companies are forced to lift their hiring standard and pose rigid requirements to the job. Without daily improvement of the knowledge, those people will find difficulties to land another job when the critical moment come.

Because I am working on the computer software development field, the ability to rapidly read technical documents, programming books and papers become a crucial factor in the success of a project. So when I interviewed a job applicant, one of my favorite question is, "Tell me, What technical books and non-technical books you have read in the past three months? What are told in those books? And so what?" I am quite amused when I heard the answers, and the fact is, the more skilled a job applicant has, the more books he or she has read, and, of course, the salary would also be reflected proportionally, if the candidate is a well reader.

Maybe the motivation of build a reading habit we mentioned above are too money driven. "I don't care to acquire knowledge, and I am satisfied with my current status," You said, in a lighthearted tone. OK, I remembered there is a word in the dictionary, called "repent." Surely you are in the peak of your life, your bank account overflowing with cash, your body strength and health are qualified to be an Olympic athlete, but can you foresee what will happen on you 10 years, 15 years or 20 years later? What will you do if something of malicious occurrence suddenly come to your life? How will you spend the hours when you retire at home? Become a choosy, impetuous personal and finding faults on your spouse all day long? Or watching the TV from dawn to dusk? Don't fool yourself and end up with repentance.

"OK, OK," You retorted, "I will read one hour everyday. But what books should I read? There are too many of them out there." The choice of books, to me, is an art and requires time to master. Although there are millions of books existed, but we should not be mislead by the appalling number, because the good books worth to read could be only 1% of the whole pyramid. Personally I will choice the books in an "cyclic" manner. That is, read a technical book, and then move to non-technical world -- classic ancient Chinese book, next comes the modern English book, and move to classic English book, and than back to the technical books. And it is necessary to balance between novel, history, autobiography, economic, philosophy, etc., on the account to fill the mind with even nutritions and polish it in a round manner so you wont become a cynical. Here are few tips that may help to build up the reading habit:

- Allocate 5% of your monthly wage to buy books, attend training classes and seminars. Don't expect your company or boss to fill the bill. It is your responsibility to improve your surviving skill. Your boss' job is to fire you when you become outdated and useless to the organization.

- Utilize your boss. Barge in their office and ask them what he or she read. Ask them for advice. Humbly listen to them, I know you don't like your boss, but you have to. Likely you will be promoted because you impressed them by your ambition and motivation, and there are no one do the same thing before.

- Build your own home library. Don't just fetch books from public library. Make the book your own property. Mark it, write notes on it, use it as pillow, and make a friend with it.

- Find a quiet place to begin your reading journey. Feed up your dog and cat so they won't bother you.

- Read at least one hour per day. No matter shine or rain. No excuse. Make progress. One hours per day could be translated to one book per week.

- Use your pen and high-lighter to mark important paragraphs. Keep a notebook with hand to write your opinions. Write down the new words and vocabularies. Review them constantly.

- First read a book's prefix and introduction pages, then read the back cover. Flipping through pages to browse its contents, if you are interested, read it in depth.

- When you see new words, use a pencil to mark it down. Don't stop, don't use dictionary in the middle of read. Move on. When finish one chapter, come back to look up the new word from dictionary.

Read good books can enlighten your mind, push you to a wining edge, improve thinking ability, round up personality, sharpen language skill, boost the salary and knowledge. Your potential is unlimited -- why still waiting?
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