Getting Healthy for Spring? Try Reading a Book

More than one in four adult Americans say they haven’t read even part of a book within the last year. That surprising number comes from the Pew Research Center and includes books in both print and digital form. 

So, what’s wrong with that? Plenty, according to research scientists at several major universities; their studies point to some key benefits of reading books, including open-mindedness, greater rates of success, and even a longer life.

“Apparently, the practice of reading books creates cognitive engagement that improves lots of things, including vocabulary, thinking skills, and concentration,” she explains. “It also can affect empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, the sum of which helps people stay on the planet longer,” writes Christina DesMarais in Inc. 

She’s referring to the finding from a Yale University Study that discovered people who read for at least 30 minutes a day live on average 23 months longer than non-readers.

You’re not doing yourself any favors if you’re in the 26 percent of American adults who haven’t read even part of a book within the past year.

We’ve cited previous studies on the proven health benefits of reading books, and especially books in print. Other studies show us that reading a book can actually make us more human.  And, of course, talk to any entrepreneur and they’ll likely tell you that reading books is a key to their success. 

“Titles that have repeatedly made their lists include: The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz; Shoe Dog by Phil Knight; Good to Great by Jim Collins; and Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson,” DesMarais notes.

It’s important to remember that screen time, idly scrolling through social media, does not count. This kind of digital diversion is not the same as reading a book. Yet think of how often you look up from your phone and realize that 20, 30 or more minutes have gone by.

Maybe it’s time we all put down that phone a bit more and pick up a good book.