If you read a book every week – an ambitious pace for the vast majority of Americans – even when sick, on vacation, busy at work, dealing with family or home issues – you would read 52 books per year. So if one were to read at this pace upon graduating high school at age 18 and continued right to the end of one’s life, say, at age 83, over 3,390 books would have been read over 65 years. Throw in schoolbooks and other reading prior to graduation, and maybe you’re up to 3,600 or so books. Just how do we choose the books we read and how do we properly attain an understanding of and exposure to all the cultures, science, history, places, people, and ideas that circulate in books past and present.
When you look at the number of 3,600 books read as being impressive, it pales in comparison to the universe of books available to us. And the number of books in print – in English – are now in the millions – but they don’t compare to the number of books to be produced in the future. And all of those books – tens of millions of them published by 2035 – still won't even crack the surface of what is out there to be discovered or what is known but not yet shared as a book. See where this is going? No matter how many books you read, you won’t know even 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% - and so on – of all possible knowledge.
As a society, we need to raise our reading levels – both in our literacy kills and in the quantity of books read. The more we read, the smarter we get. And more curious. This inspires dialogue on how to make the world better and infuses us with the desire to discover, create, and dream.
Our nation can’t just depend on those who read books to lead us. We also need others to bring the bottom up and participate in our government, community, and society.
Imagine if more Americans were better educated – both in terms of exposure to college but also to information and ideas in general. We shouldn’t have to keep debating things like climate change or healthcare. If we had everyone on the same page, looking at the same facts and trained with the ability to analyze things, society would advance greatly. But when people can be fooled by those with an agenda, when they lack the knowledge base to have a macro look at the world, and when they don’t keep up with current events, they outsource big decisions to lobbyists, advertisers, the rich, the politically entrenched, and essentially those who don’t have everyone’s best interests at heart.
I will always advocate for more people to read more books – and it will lift society for sure. But I must admit that even with everyone reading a lot we still won’t touch a microparticle of the knowledge that’s floating out there. To confront this fact simply overwhelms me.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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