I think I bring this up every year or so, but the point is becoming more acute for me.
Reading is life.
I’m starting to believe that the most brilliant people in the world were, before and above all else, obsessed readers. Christopher Hitchens basically read and wrote constantly, and I’m now understanding why.
When I am reading at a solid pace I am consumed by ideas—and they’re often ideas completely unrelated to the input. The content triggers pattern recognition in other domains, and I’m suddenly lit up with enthusiasm for the world in general.
And this is constant when I’m reading.
I tend to read good books, and they are full of concise little insights and big ideas that help me better understand the world. And when I stop reading—well—when I stop reading life becomes significantly dimmer. I drift from high to high, be that food or film, laugh or luxury, but the thrill of ideas seems like a distant life lived by another.
And then I read again, and within moments of consuming a good chapter on an interesting topic, I immediately feel rejuvenated.
To be clear, I’m not saying I’m cool because I read, and that if you want to be in this cool club you should read too. No. What I’m saying is that the only reason I ever have good ideas is because GREAT ideas enter my brain at high velocity and cause a ruckus.
Take that away and I’m probably a drooling turnip.
Stop what you’re doing and read.
I’ve made a million recommendations here. I have my reading project. There are book lists out there of what you should be reading. Start with the classics. Start with the NYT bestseller list.
It will make you smarter, and it will make you happier.