It’s hard for a book lover to convince a non-reader to pick up the habit. You nag and rave and persuade them and they finally probably accept out of politeness. So you lend them a favourite and wait an impatient week and ask them how it went, and you get the familiar list of dreaded responses.
- “I lost interest after the first few pages.”
- “The book was too long.”
- “The book was too dry.“
- “I could have learnt the same thing by watching a tutorial or two on YouTube.”
Worse, with those annoying little phones constantly buzzing around us, there’s a steady drip of mindless dopamine hit after hit. The apps on these phones are backed by billion dollar companies that are hugely invested in manipulating you to use their app every moment of the day. Over time, your brain rewires itself to respond to that Pavlovian buzz. Unlock, swipe, like, and repeat.
After years of this brainwashing, how can you expect someone to pick a 400-page book and read it with concentration for more than fifteen minutes at a time? We have enough ‘light’ entertainment to suck our time away.
How, then, to convince some one of the value of deep reading? This article makes a good attempt. Yes it’s long. That’s partially the point. Complex ideas cannot be expressed in tweet-sized chunks. Reading deeply creates a richer self by letting one think through and form one’s own understanding.
In any case, convincing others may be futile. I see a value in reducing social media distractions and committing to deep reading sessions, so I shape my habits accordingly.
- Install the Daywise app. It intercepts and hides all your notifications, and releases them thrice a day. You don’t get constant interruptions all through the day (apart from exceptions that you can set, like 1:1 messages).
- Read to your kids. Take if from someone who’s earliest memories are of walking to a library with his brother and mom. This will create a life-long and deeply rewarding hobby.