A New Chapter in the New Year
January 14, 2020
Starting the new year always means being inundated with ideas for resolutions. Make this the year of meditation! Marie Kondo your entire life! Only eat between 10 and 6!
As we enter 2020, I wanted to choose one resolution I’d feel really excited about achieving. So I’ve decided to read one book per week. Although it won’t likely help you shed those holiday pounds, I’d argue that reading more will improve your work life. Here’s how:
Science: People who read more fiction were found to be better at empathy and understanding others, according to a recent Washington Post article. And no matter where you work, these traits are absolutely key to success. The same article also says that more than two dozen experiments have linked reading to better social skills. But that’s not all. Reading has also been proven to make you a calmer person. I can personally attest that putting away my phone (or skipping the next Netflix episode) and instead reaching for a book is a much more effective de-stressor.
Immerse Yourself in a Topic: We’re all overwhelmed with news alerts and an exploding Twitter feed that often makes it hard to read more than one article on a critical topic before it’s on to the next issue. That’s where some good non-fictions books come in, like Evicted by Matthew Desmond, a pretty devastating exploration of the link between housing and poverty through the lives of eight families. How about a deeper dive into American foreign policy, as laid out in Samantha Power’s recent memoir The Education of an Idealist. Or we can always go to President Obama’s best book lists for inspiration. His 2019 list featured American Prison, an inside look at the prison system through the eyes of a journalist working as a corrections officer, and The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, a timely investigation into how much control tech companies have on our lives.
Sharpen Your Skills: While I’m more likely to be crafting talking points than writing the next great American short story, I firmly believe that reading good writing makes you a better writer, no matter the content. For one, you learn how to more effectively tell a compelling story, which is really what all communications is about. It also expands your vocabulary and gives you a better eye for tone and sentence structure.
So far, my January has included the following books: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, Lost Children Archive by Valerie Luiselli and Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow. What books are on your list and more importantly, are you up for joining me in this resolution?
January 14, 2020