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TECH TALK: Good Books: Why I Read

January 5th, 2004 · No Comments

For me, books are temples for the mind. The relaxation, the clear thinking, a glimpse of the road ahead these are a few things that temples and books do for me. A good book encourages solitude as one joins the author in a journey into a world apart. For me, books have been the doors that have opened up new ideas and insights. As the years have passed, I have found my reading increasing, with a diversity that I wish I had encouraged when I was younger. This column shares some of the books that I am reading and have read recently.

I read because there is so much to learn from other peoples experiences. My reading is not as much for time-pass as it is for learning. I choose my books like we should chose friends carefully. A good book, like a good friend, can leave a lasting impression. It can shape thinking and beliefs the way few people can. When we are listening to others (even family members or friends), we can always interrupt them to get across our point of view. With a book, we can do no such thing we let the author weave us into a trance, slowly, inexorably. Our inattention is undivided and in solitude. We cannot argue, we can only imagine. We cannot fight, we can only contemplate.

There is something magical about a book, which can never be replicated by any of the other media be it magazines, the Web or television. A book does not let us do multi-tasking. It demands undivided attention there are no micro-moments. A book consumes our most precious resource time. When we read a book, we are committing a significant chunk of mental time and attention that is the hardest to find in todays multiplexed lives.

I read because a book challenges my thinking. It gives me perspectives that I otherwise might not have seen. A book also simplifies the complexities that we see around us. A book inspires in a way only great leaders can (and there are fewer of those around). A book transports us to different worlds that we each create in our own minds eye. It expands horizons like a good teacher. It creates memories for life.

In the past 18 months, I find myself reading a lot more, and books other than the management and technology variety. For this, I have to thank our monthly Book Club meetings, where four of us with different backgrounds meet to share what we have read. What started as a one-off meeting nearly two years ago has grown into something which has given a new purpose for my reading. Bloggers have also made a mark on my reading. Recommendations from my favourite writers have gone a long way in influencing the books I read. I hope I can do the same for you.

Tomorrow: Mountains Beyond Mountains


TECH TALK Good Books+T

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