Pithy figures-of-identity-speech aside, and the fact that I say it way too often, I love books and the art of reading. Poring through the buried truths within each tome of wisdom and insight, waiting impatiently for the nuggets to fall from the pages, merge into one with my eyes, and work their way through the neural synapses in my brain, where they live harmoniously with all of the other ideas.
I read to learn: New words, ideas, thoughts, appeals, rants, philosophies, expressions of faith, views of the nation and the world, art, science, religion, politics, business, video, photography, nature. You name it, recommend it, quote it, or throw it at me, I will want to read it.
I read to analyze: The way an author builds the premise and argument of a sentence, paragraph, section, chapter, part and book. I look at word choices, context and meaning, revel in the difference between books that seem to have been spoken into existence versus being pecked away word by word from mind to fingers. Punctuation, rules of grammar, dialogue, poetry and prose. All fair game.
I also read for entertainment. Yes, I find reading a lot of fun and I even read novels. I love a great murder mystery. I long to be horrified, sung to, and find myself lost in a desert of the mystery of a classic novel, a romantic expose of the poetry of the heart, or a horror tale. I want to laugh, cry, hate, feel anger; I read to feel emotion.
What’s the Point?
With my expressed emotion of love and lust for the written word, I know many people who hate to read. Excuses abound: “It takes too long,” “I can’t stay focused,” “I’m too busy,” “I only read the textbooks in class, just what is required of me,” “Why read when you can watch the movie in two hours or less?” Okay, that last one was Rodney Dangerfield from Back to School, but you get my point, right? Oh wait, I haven’t gotten to my point yet.
Here it is: I read to prepare for what what the future will bring. I don’t know what will be useful for a documentary film project in the future. I don’t know the types of people that I will meet and need to talk to. I read to know.
In You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know, Simon Sinek says that innovation comes when we look outside our knowledge-base and what we know. In order to learn more about what we know, we must find out what we don’t know, therein completing the circle of knowledge: A daily pursuit of learning more about what we know, by examining what we don’t know.
By staying well-rounded, I am able to be fascinated by the wisdom and knowledge of others, preparing for the eventuality that when I am presented with something new, either a project or a person, I will have a connection point somewhere in my brain that allows me to form an understanding and a initial point of relation.
So, if I am what I read, does that mean you are what you read?
What are you reading?