132. One chapter each night keeps grey matter bright.

Last week I introduced The Habit of Reading and, courtesy of some readers, I have a shopping list of some 53 book titles recommended to me and which I intend to work my way through over the next several months.

I am blessed to have a wife who is as avid reader as I am and our lives are filled with fascinating, detailed, conversations resulting from topics introduced to our awareness by the books we read.

In my day job as a business coach and consultant, I am constantly dazzled and impressed by so many of the senior corporate executives I interact with when the discussion turns to knowledge and they share the degree to which reading has, and continues, to play a role in their daily performance.

The old saying, “Readers are leaders” has perhaps never been as true as it is today.

A long time Buckminster Fuller, the renowned American designer, theorist and architect created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve.”

He became aware that prior to the commencement of the 20th century the total body of human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years.

By the middle of the century the pool of knowledge was doubling every 25 years.

Today our knowledge base is estimated to double every 2 years and is expected to double every 12 months by 2020.

Experts tells us that as the internet expands and matures, world knowledge will eventually double every 12 hours.

Yikes.

The sheer magnitude of what this means is difficult to fathom and yet it makes a compelling case for why reading should become an essential part of our daily lives.

If we hope to stay fresh, competitive and, indeed, useful in this world of ever-increasing knowledge then The Habit of Reading is an imperative we ignore at our own peril.

Bill Gates, when asked which superpower he would chose if given the opportunity, responded that his choice would be “to read superfast.”

Interestingly, Warren Buffett when asked the same question provided a similar answer.

Both of these men – the #1 and #2 richest people on the planet – both attribute much of their success to their insatiable, unquenchable and constant thirst for knowledge and it is indeed, that very quest for knowledge that has propelled both of these business giants to reach heretofore unimagined heights.

Many years ago I took a speed-reading course and my frustration at my inability to achieve what I believed to be a desired result led me to quit practicing and give up.

My enthusiasm for reading was not dampened I just continued to read at the same 250 to 400 words per minute that I had maintained in the past.

Some years later, perhaps having acquired a bit more wisdom (and patience) I began practising the speed reading skills again.

This time rather than give up, I persevered and eventually reached the point where I could speed-read with the same levels of both comprehension and retention I had enjoyed in my regular reading habits.

This skill has enabled me to take The Habit of Reading to the point where I can quite comfortably read an average of two books each week.

Sadly, not for one moment do I believe the volume of reading has raised my level of wisdom but it has unquestionably contributed to the unconquerable passion that I have for life.

Gimalle, my wife, has imposed a moratorium on further book purchases as our bookshelves have long been filled to overflowing and she is concerned that the pile of books on my bedside table will soon collide with the ceiling.

Please don’t tell her this but I am still buying as many books as ever. I just store them at my office.

I am getting better at reading e-books. I have read my way through many of them but each time I do so I long for the feel of a real book in my hands.

The Habit of Reading. If you aren’t already in its grasp it is a terrific habit to pick up.

But beware!

You may not be able to put it down.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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