Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why reading is no longer a popular sport

http://brightsparks.pteducation.com, www.SandeepManudhane.org
How do I start?
Talk to any young person and you realise that the one habit that has taken the maximum hit due to other temptations of the modern world is "reading".


It seems that the young have simply either given up reading, or have restricted themselves to the narrow niches of their professional needs. Broad, generalist readers are a diminishing community. If things go the way they are, it's a matter of time before a fitting RIP is written for this tribe.

Why is this happening? Some reasons I think are important -
  1. False illusion due to social media : Since a lot of youngsters spend a lot of time doing social media networking, there is a false sense of having done a lot of "reading" directly or indirectly through social media itself! Nothing could be far from the truth. The superficial, cursory and utterly peremptory scanning of the written content on Facebook or Twitter can hardly qualify as genuine reading. Still, many feel so. 
  2. Lack of peaceful reading time : The lifestyles of many do not allow clear reading time slots. There's just so much noise. The mobile radios, the iPods, the earplugs, the incessant chatter online... it kills the very concept of locking oneself in a corner of your home/room and dedicating some time to pure reading pleasure. This gradually develops into a pattern - people just give up reading. And when it is indeed available, the depth of silence feels too heavy.
  3. Strong negative spiral : Unfortunately, once you lock yourself into a negative pattern of habits like the one described above, there's little chance of breaking free. Partially because one does not realise it, and partially because there's the lack of a relevant shock, things continue the way they are. And deteriorate further. Reading is like tilling a land.. you stop and it degrades.
  4. Lack of inspiring seniors : College and schools do not inspire youngsters much when it comes to reading. Neither do seniors who can drive young people through sheer example. So a kind of societal stamp is acquired unknowingly and the bad habit of poor reading proliferates!
The damage that this does to young professionals is immense. Some pointers:
  • Utter lack of depth : many youngsters just do not understand issues as deeply as they should
  • Lack of confidence : scratch below the surface of claims being made, and you realise there's little gravamen below. It's positively scary
  • Poor decision making skills : the more we know about the world around us, the better we can connect the dots and move ahead in a more concrete fashion
All these are rather demoralising facts! But no damage is permanent. And you can do a lot to rebuild the edifice. Some simple suggestions:
  1. Visualise yourself making better decisions : think of yourself in a complicated decision making situation. And imagine that you knew a lot more about the world, its working components, human behaviour, the economy, the nations in turmoil, and so on. There's a fair chance that you will react much better to the challenges facing you.
  2. Keep a slot everyday : start small. Fix a slot of 10 minutes religiously, per day, that you'll devote only to yourself, sitting in a corner/on your study table, with serious reading stuff. Let this time slot grow slowly, gradually. There's no hurry.
  3. Cut down on your internet consumption and TV time : Try reducing your social media time, and the time you spend in front of the idiot box. While it is wrong to ask of anyone to eliminate TV from their schedules (given the amazingly high quality content that appears frequently on TV nowadays), there's a lot of sick and ordinary stuff that cuts into precious time you could devote to your self-development.
  4. Read what you like, first : In order to not get bogged down by stuff that does not interest you, read what you like, first. Don't get into reading things that do not instinctively interest you. As you grow in stature as a reader, your interests will grow too.
  5. Get into debates and discussions : Nothing stimulates your desire to read more than a pleasant experience of "showing-off" your knowledge in a discussion :)  I mean that in a positive and healthy way. So get into debates with intelligent people often. Talk about what's happening in the world - the Arab spring, the resurgence of oil and coal, the uncertainty of the Chinese economic miracle, the problems facing developing nations, gender equality, financial planning, etc. It'll stimulate and grow your existence manifold.
Reading was, and remains, the best self-development tool. Do not underestimate its importance. Start now - it's not too late. Invest slowly, steadily and let it work for you. All the best!

Here's a detailed analysis of an article on the same topic which appeared in a newspaper. Watch the session for some more insights. Enjoy! (more such sessions here)





Perhaps I should rephrase the title to "Why reading is no longer a popular sport - and what can be done about it"  :)


~

12 comments:

mayank umraode said...

Thank you Sir for such an eye opener. Now that you have mentioned, i can realize that i don't do the things i should do whether it is reading or plainly listening to what is been said.
But what i also know is that I will take it as POSITIVELY as i can.

Nikhil Satbhaiya said...

A good writer can only be a Good Reader..!!!!!

Mayank Chourdia said...

Wonderful post Sir…
I enjoyed reading your blog. I promise to myself to start my reading practice from now (at least 10-15 mins a day).

Rayees Qurayshi said...

Absolutely true about the current scenario!!!

Abhishek Soni said...

Sir, I still remember those "The Economist" sessions in which I read few of the important articles, followed by very interesting discussions. The facts and relevant discussion done by you engaged me the most in a sound and healthy manner when I did some R&D on that.

Indeed, reading is a great self development tool and confidence booster. But sparing quality time is the biggest challenge I face. I will surely apply few suggestions given by you and improve my "sort of reading as a HABIT&HOBBY."

And one of the most ferocious challenges which I am facing is, How to make my sister and other cousins get engaged in reading?

Every time I fail to do so(after buying their interest related books and relevant stuff). Could you please help me to give some tips on how to encourage them to do some quality reading? I would really appreciate your help and time on this.

Regards,
Abhishek Soni

Kartik Jha said...

We do not have to take precautions, as what we do in Social media, TV, internet or other stuffs mentioned does not kills our valuable time. If one is self aware of its routine and intellectual habits, he/she does not boulevards astray, he/she will have its hobby continue (even if the source has to be changed)

Aastha said...

"Reading is to the Mind, what Exercise is to the Body."

Reading, I find this a very beautiful sport. Think of it!
No matter how bad your day was, if you engage yourself in a great story, it all just slips away.
Everything you read fills your head with a new bit of information and its only this information you are left with when everything you once had is now lost.
It also does help us to improve our vocabulary and forces us to think and bring out the great writer living inside! It helps us increase our concentration power too.
Books are indeed one of your best friends who will never hurt you nor will they demand.

Sharing my experience, I gave up watching TV when I was in class 10 and committed myself to read more and more books. Today I have a collection of around 50(not so huge!) books which includes Novels, encyclopedias(yes in the era of Google I still go through them) and books about Arts and Photography.

I read this somewhere and it really true: " Always read the stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

- Aastha Tongia

Aastha said...

"Reading is to the Mind, what Exercise is to the Body."

Reading, I find this a very beautiful sport. Think of it!
No matter how bad your day was, if you engage yourself in a great story, it all just slips away.
Everything you read fills your head with a new bit of information and its only this information you are left with when everything you once had is now lost.
It also does help us to improve our vocabulary and forces us to think and bring out the great writer living inside! It helps us increase our concentration power too.
Books are indeed one of your best friends who will never hurt you nor will they demand.

Sharing my experience, I gave up watching TV when I was in class 10 and committed myself to read more and more books. Today I have a collection of around 50(not so huge!) books which includes Novels, encyclopedias(yes in the era of Google I still go through them) and books about Arts and Photography.

I read this somewhere and it really true: " Always read the stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

- Aastha Tongia

Ankur Nair said...

Wonderfully written article sir!
And the topic you have thrown light upon is really important.
I had lost this habit eversince i started my graduation but i am working hard on reviving it.After joining your institute i have received a great boost.
Also i would like to add another aspect about how reading has evolved with technology.More and more books,novels etc,are available to readers just a click away.And to the fact sites like amazon have developed some interactive services like "kindle",
through which they provide their users with all such reading materials that they are unable to acess because of religious or national restrictions.
Thanking You,
-Ankur Nair

sonimayank007 said...

A beautiful Article on "READING"

The enticements of human life have overlapped,on the time which was earlier devoted to readings. As we know, Reading is an essential part of human life. But nowadays it is about to be RIP that is very crucial of this diminishing community.
Social media has played a very crucial role in this by making it superficial and by involving youngsters in time wastage doings.
there is no peaceful place and time for reading in our hectic schedule and our surroundings do not inspire or suggest us to read.

But we can't blame others, it's our life, all the things we perform, should be in the right way that leads to enrichment of our life.

We can reattain the desire to read by performing these deeds:

# provide a fix slot for reading.
# start from a short slot and with your liked genre.
# Discuss and debate on what u read.
# visualize yourself as a thinktank who takes better decisions.

-MAYANK SONI



vaishali soni said...

Good evening sir,


it is very beautiful blog which mention your post.Reading, several peoples has avoid this skill in our life.

earlier, many peoples liked the reading like novels,books,magzines etc. but in presently this skill is eliminating our life.

after reading this post i will also develop this skill.
good reader also make a good writer,speaker.without knowledge our life can't be Achievable.

Thanks
Vaishali Soni
PT INDORE

reema jain said...

Sir you actually have pointed a very serious problem with today's generation and i too was a part of it..
few years ago when i was in 1st yr of my college i used to read some small stuffs like obviously the writer "Chetan Bhagat" novels which were interesting + consisted explanation in a confined manner & summarized with optimistic approach .... But since after reading all these stuffs i think it wasn't so manageable for me to continue reading which in a way decreased my capacity/ability of going in deepness of any phrase, sentence etc and my vocab too came so down...but i coped up in final year of my engineering by making it a daily habit...i made it when i found myself rolling out of the carpet ..i actually think if due to some guidance of my elder brother i made my reading so effective then any other would have influenced me.. its not that tough what people actually make it ...one who reads daily only can be good speaker & a good writer too..

one who is very active in his/her reading skills is the one who is "hard to cut as a rough diamond"...
Thank you
Sandeep sir...