The 26 Major Advantages to Reading More Books and Why 3 in 4 People Are Being Shut Out of Success

by Brad Isaac on December 5, 2007

read_more_books I read a Associated Press-Ipsos poll revealing that 1 in 4 adults read no books last year. Yes, that’s 25% of the adults out there are reading zero books. This is sad.

I knew intuitively the number of books read each year had gone down but to zero? Ridiculous!

And what about the adults who are reading more than zero books a year. How many are they reading in all? One? Five? Actually, the same poll reveals the average adult reads only four books per year. Half of those people read less than four.

If you are one of the non-book readers who feels you “don’t need no stinking books”, here are 26 great reasons to start the habit…before you are left behind!

1. Reading is an active mental process – Unlike TV, books make you to use your brain. By reading, you think more and become smarter.

2. It is a fundamental skill builder - Every good course on the planet has a matching book to go with it. Why? Because books help clarify difficult subjects. Books provide information that goes deeper than just classroom discussion.

3. Improves your vocabulary – Remember in elementary school when you learned how to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get the same benefit from book reading. While reading books, especially challenging ones, you will find yourself exposed to many new words you wouldn’t be otherwise.

4. Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places – What is your favorite vacation spot? I would bet you read a lot about that destination. The more information the better. Books can expand your horizons by letting you see what other cities and countries have to offer before you visit them.

5. Improves concentration and focus – Like I pointed out before, reading books takes brain power. It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, Internet posts or e-Mails that might contain small chunks of information. Books tell the whole story. Since you must concentrate in order to read, like a muscle, you will get better at concentration.

6. Builds self-esteem – By reading more books, you become better informed and more of an expert on the topics you read about. This expertise translates into higher self esteem. Since you are so well read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better.

7. Improves memory – Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.

8. Improves your discipline – Obviously, if 1 in 4 people don’t read one book per year, then there is a discipline issue. There may be many causes for people not reading books such as the “quips” of information you can get on the Internet. TV is also a major distracter. Making time to read is something we all know we should do, but who schedules book reading time every day? Very few… That’s why adding book reading to your daily schedule and sticking to it, improves discipline.

9. Learn anywhere – Books are portable. You can take them almost anywhere. As such, you can learn almost anywhere too.

10. Improves creativity – by reading more books and exposing yourself to new and more complete information, you will also be able to come up with more creative ideas. As a personal example, I read many, many books on IT Networking. So often, when IT Admins are stumped with a problem, I can come up with a creative (smack your head simple) solution that isn’t written anywhere. But the reason I can do that is because I have read so many books on the subject, I can combine lessons from all of them into new solutions.

11. Gives you something to talk about – Have you ever run out of stuff to talk about with your best friend, wife or husband? This can be uncomfortable. It might even make married couples wonder if their marriage is in trouble. However, if you read a lot of books, you’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing are endless.

12. Books are inexpensive entertainment – What’s the average price of a movie ticket these days? $8 – $10? You can buy a paperback for that price and be entertained for many hours more. If you have a used bookstore nearby, you can get them even cheaper.

Tip: Once you make reading a habit, you’ll enjoy reading the books in your chosen career as well.

13. You can learn at your own pace – Where formal education requires time commitments, books have no late-bells or hourly commitments. So you can learn at your own pace when you read books.

14. New mental associations – I touched on this above. As you read more books the depth and breadth of your knowledge expands and your ability to form new associations increases. In reading a book to discover the solution to one problem, you find the solution to others you may not have considered.

15. Improves your reasoning skills – Books for professionals contain arguments for or against the actions within. A book on cooking argues that Chili powder goes well with beef and goes poorly with ice-cream. A book on building a business argues that testing an idea for profitability before setting up is a smart strategy and argues against just barreling forward with the idea without testing.

You too will be able to reason better with the knowledge you gain. Some of the arguments will rub off on you. Others you will argue against. Regardless, you’ll be reasoning better.

16. Builds your expertise – Brian Tracy has said one way to become an expert in your chosen field is to read 100 books on the subject. He also said by continuing the same for 5 years you’ll become an international expert. With the Internet and blogs, you could hone that time down to 2-3 years if you follow through.

17. Saves money – Apart from saving money on entertainment expenses. Reading books that help you develop your skills saves money. Reading books on how someone went bankrupt will be a warning to you against repeating their mistakes. Reading a book on how to build your own backyard deck saves the expense of hiring a contractor.

18. Decreases mistakes – Although I would never suggest putting off an important goal because you fear making mistakes, it is still important to sharpen the saw (link to A.L. post). When you gather the deep and wide wisdom that books can provide, you are less apt to make mistakes.

19. You’ll discover surprises - As you read more books as a source of information, you’ll learn stuff you weren’t looking for. I’ve read many great quotes on life and love by reading books on marketing. I’ve learned facts about biology from reading about chemistry. Heck, I’ve picked up some facts about history while reading about programming. Since so many subjects intertwine it’s almost impossible not to learn something other than the book’s subject.

20. Decreased boredom – One of the rules I have is if I am feeling bored, I will pick up a book and start reading. What I’ve found by sticking to this is that I become interested in the book’s subject and stop being bored. I mean, if you’re bored anyway, you might as well be reading a good book, right?

21. Can change your life – How many times have you heard of a book changing someone’s life? For me, it was Your Erroneous Zones (link) by Wayne Dyer – which is the first self-development book I read. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking that was not depressing and dull. It was the first step in my path of choosing my own life and being free of old habitual thought patterns.

There are many, many other books out there that have a reputation for changing lives including Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Handbook to Higher Consciousness, Atlas Shrugged , A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Lord of the Rings and Black Boy to name a few. But you can start in your chosen field and work your way outward.

22. Can help break a slump – Being in a slump is uncomfortable. If you are a writer, you call it writer’s block. If you are a salesperson, it’s called – not making a sale in 23 days. But a slump can be a crossroads. It might be you are wavering on your commitment to a particular project or (with marriage) person. Or a slump can be simply a lack of new ideas. Books are a great source of ideas, big and small. So if you find yourself in a slump, pick a book on the portion of your life you are slump-ing and get to reading!

23. Reduces stress - Many avid readers (including me) unwind by reading. Compared with the person who gets home from work and immediately turns on the TV news, you are going from work stress to crime stress. But it’s not just news. TV as a source of relaxation is too full of loud commercials and fast moving (often violent) images. If relaxation is something you want, turn off the TV or computer and pick up a book.

24. Gets you away from digital distractions – If you, like many others, feel overwhelmed with the flashing lights, beeps, boops and ring-a-dings that burn up our computing lives, then give books a chance. When you find some good books, you’ll find yourself drawn into the subject matter. You’ll want to spend more time reading. By spending more time reading books, you’ll have less time for the plethora of the digital gadgets begging for our attention.

25. You’ll make more money - If you make a serious effort to read in your chosen career, your expertise in that specialty will increase. As you become more specialized and learned, you join a smaller group of more qualified people. By being part of the small few with the highest level knowledge your pay will increase. It’s simple supply and demand.

26. The book is always better than the movie – except for perhaps No Country for Old Men. :)

What are some of the most important books you have read? What is the title that changed your life? If you’ve found a book that made a major change in how you work, live or love, please tell us about it in the comments below.

Part 2: 5 Sneaky and Underhanded Methods to Add 30% More Time to Your Daily Reading Schedule

Part 3: What to Read for Maximum Effectiveness

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Kelsi November 11, 2008 at 5:09 pm

One of the book series that have changed my life is the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I’ve been depressed for many years in my life. And even though I’m a teen, it’s still a long time. Twilight made me want to read. It helped me get over most of my depression problems. I’m a happier person now. Although, I have a slight obsession with the series now. lol *laugh out loud for those of you who don’t know what that means* And I’m an altogether better person to be around now. It taught me to love people on who they are and what they stand for instead of what they look like and what they like.

Derek November 29, 2008 at 10:54 pm

It really helps me on my opinion essay. Thanks!

kim villasin February 11, 2009 at 6:20 am

i’m 15 and i’ve read the book “tuesdays with morrie”. it really changed my life and the way i looked at life. it changed the way how i looked at death. i’ve learned a lot of things from it. :D

haneen March 26, 2009 at 5:43 am

hey, thanks realy for this post. i love reading and i recently discovered the world of books. but some pple in school just think ”reading is a waste of time, just watch the movie!!”
but i totally disagree with that cuz when reading a book u just get what the writer want to tell u and its like u become the main character in the story and try to find solutions for his problems. the experience is tottaly different than the movie.
and now since i got these 26 advantages of reading i think im just going to present it in school for all those who don’t read.
thanks =D

Brad Isaac March 26, 2009 at 8:44 am

Haneen, welcome! And keep fighting the fight. Bookworms like us rule the world. :)

April 15, 2009 at 3:03 am

May be Kindle prevalence will improve the situation? In any case, I began to read much more with it.

rtyoms last blog post..Samsung Papyrus Reader

Brad Isaac April 15, 2009 at 10:19 am

Time will tell if the Kindle helps increase reading. I know I find my Kindle2 indispensable for keeping me in the reading spirit.

May 4, 2009 at 3:45 am

We need to read more books,and thinking is more important.

JimJis last blog post..How to disable Windows Defender in Windows 7

Subbu May 14, 2009 at 1:50 pm

This is Awesome! Reading books is my passion.
It helps me in running my business more succesfully and builds me as a successful person in lot more ways.
thank you for all the points.

May 19, 2009 at 6:24 am

This is really true. I strongly believes that more and more reading will enhance your knowledge and creativity. It will boost your out of box thinking skills thus helping you in one way or other.

July 9, 2009 at 10:02 am


Reason July 19, 2009 at 10:26 am

You lost all credibility in the first four words: “I read a Associated…” To say “a” when you should obviously say “an” is so idiotic as to render your opinions invalid.

Carolyn March 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Although I am also an advocate of proper grammar, you just committed a logical fallacy by dismissing the entire argument because of one error. I’d have to say that’s quite a bit worse than mistaking “a” for “an.”

August 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm

You and I are on the same channel! Spreading the word about the power of reading is my passion! You had so many good points. I’d add that reading is relationship-building when you share a story together, read and talk about something.

Brad Isaac August 2, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Cathy, good addition to the list. Sharing the story or what you’ve learned is powerful.

Davie August 11, 2009 at 4:41 am

The Harry Potter series helped me grow up, mainly because it grew up right along with me. ;]

August 17, 2009 at 2:19 am

I think the barrage of technology- internet, video games, ipods…have numbed kids today towards picking up a real book and reading. There truly is no substitute for relaxing on a sunny day in a hammock, or on a beach chair along a sandy shore, sipping a mint mojito and reading a great book. This is a great post, and the internet needs more “referrals” to real books!

Jess August 23, 2009 at 9:52 am

When you say it cheap (12) you forgot to mention one very important thing: Libraries.

mj August 24, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Most of these are very reasonable hypotheses, but they are nothing more than that, right? You don’t have any actual evidence for most of this, right? You’re just relying on generally accepted common sense? But what if the common sense is wrong?

ash October 11, 2009 at 1:43 am

Same here, Jess, going to the movies or buying one is expensive, and libraries supply free hours of entertainment. MJ, THAT is a fact, not just a hypothesis. There have to be statistics somewhere that explain that if you read more than another that you have new knowledge that a person who doesn’t read has. The people who read about 10 books in their life do nothing, not compared to bookworms:) I’m one of the top in my grade, and I’ve read over 60 books this summer (time well spent) and yes, I do have friends, and I’m proud to say I’m going somewhere in life. I know this and I’m 13.

October 30, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Now learning a language by reading a book. It’s all true.
.-= Pete´s last blog ..A Flemish Islander Speaks =-.

November 2, 2009 at 12:45 am

I agreed with all 26 reasons. I also agree with reading the book
first then seeing the movie. This way you will understand the
movie better. The movie is only a condensed version of the book.
An example of that is “Lord Of The Rings”. Sure glad I had read
the books earlier, although after I saw the movie, I went back to
reading the series again.

November 30, 2009 at 9:24 am

As a publisher of self-help books, nothing warms my heart more on this cold, grey November day than reading your post. Mission Accomplished.

December 1, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Excellent reasons! I could not even begin to list all the books I’ve read that have changed my life, how I’ve thought, and helped me to make better decisions. As a novelist myself, I feel nothing is more important than to educate my readers in a friendly way to see the world from different viewpoints.

Margot R. December 6, 2009 at 6:02 am

Night by Elie Wiesel changed my life. It made me aware of my own Jewishness, which in turn led me a spiritual path back to traditional Judaism. I am not sure if this was the author’s intent, but the work’s impact on my life has been tremendous.

Sammie Rae December 17, 2009 at 5:59 am

Just what I was looking for!
I’m writing an argumentative essay for school, and the first topic that popped in my head was: books are way better than their movie counterparts. This really helped me out a lot ’cause I honestly started to think that movies actually have some advantages over books. Then I came across your 26 reasons, making me finish the essay in a jiffy.
Thanks for this and for clearing my head of doubts!
I’ll be putting this in my references xD

January 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I am following your blog, for a long time. Because, your blog is including, useful and necessary information. Your blog is in my browser’ s bookmarks.

Good jobs.

Shamus Tryst January 12, 2010 at 11:23 pm

One of the books that changed my life, and it was introduced by a close family member, is called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book has changed my perspective of life, but not only my life, it has taught me that i’m not my Thoughts (The Ego), and has made me a mindful person. Before reading this book my best friend was killed walking on a sidewalk by a drunk driver; i was in the deepest depths of despair and i thought i was going crazy. I also continued reading more of Tolle’s book’s, Such as, A New Earth, and Practicing The Power Of Now. I have not only learned to be in control of my own fate, but i have become a very Spiritual Human Being. Other good book such as Daniel Goleman’s Emotional intellgence, Social Intellgence, and Destructive Emotions With the Dalai Lamma. Not only reading these great books, i have become a Regular at all the Local Library’s and Befriended all of the Employees, which i find amusing, but that’s how reading show’s the social being i have become. I have also Studied for the Asvab (Military Entance Exam), and the Sat ( College Entrance exam), and i now realize that i can become anything i put my imagination too, now all i have to do is make a Decsion, but there is so many choices. I hope i have Enlighted anybody who read this comment, and remeber you can become anything and go anywhere and the possibility’s of the imagination is limitless. – Shamus

mera January 26, 2010 at 11:05 pm

hey thanx alot this really helped for my argumentative writing.
thanx again :)

Vasanta February 3, 2010 at 6:15 am


The book that changed my life or rather outlook is “Tough times never last, Tough people do” by Robert Schuller. I read this when I was 19. I love the person am today.


Sean February 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm

I think the message being sent by this article is a good one. But it might be more credible if the first sentence didn’t include a mistake that disproves the effects of reasons 2 and 18.

JUL?A February 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

The message is enough for me to write my essay thank you very much.Ihope one day everybody reads books:)

Mel March 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I Am The Messenger – Markus Zusak
Sometimes the deepest of meanings can lie in the simplest of texts.

roni March 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

it’s very helpful on your knowledge.

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