This is the latest edition in our quick-and-practical Q&A style videos. Questions come from social channels, keyword analysis, and readers of this blog. A transcript accompanies each video.
Reading books is healthy for your brain. How do I get back into the reading habit?
All right, so this is kinda wacky stuff, but, according to brain researchers, using the Internet a lot is actually maybe not that great for our brains. What it does is it activates part of our brains associated with hunting and gathering and things like that, so, and this has actually been proven through, like, MRI scans and neuroscience and Nick Carr’s book, The Shallows, that he wrote. He’s a big Internet thinker, talks about this quite a lot.
So, heavy Internet usage is kind of associated with increased anxiety and inability to focus. So, how can we kind of, like, reclaim that ability to focus and reduce anxiety in our daily lives?
Well, the practice of deep concentration or deep thinking is a way we can kind of reclaim that, so reading is a great way to reclaim this, and not just reading article after article and following hyperlink after hyperlink, but actually reading books.
So, I read a lot compared to most people, but compared to heavy readers, I don’t read that much, and the reason is is that I cannot get through a book unless I fall straight into it on Page 1, and if I can’t get into it, then I put the book down. So I’m going to kind of share with you books that will break anybody’s reading habit.
Okay, one book that I thought was absolutely awesome was a book called The Given Day, and it’s by an author named Dennis Lahane. It takes place in Boston in 1918, and it has as the historical background the outbreak of Spanish flu and Babe Ruth getting traded to the Yankees. Very, very cool book. Oh, and also, a police strike and riot in the city, and so that’s all kind of like the background there.
The next thing that I would recommend is the book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken, which is going to be made into a movie. It’s about a guy who ran in the 1936 Olympics, then fought for America in World War II. His plane was shot down. He was adrift at sea for 40 days, then he was captured in a Japanese POW camp for years, before he finally came back home and struggled with alcoholism. So, it’s a very, believe it or not, uplifting book.
And, the next book I would recommend is The Devil in the White City, which is a non-fiction book, and it’s about the 1892 World’s Fair in Chicago, maybe 1893, but it was a huge world’s fair. Walt Disney’s father worked at it, and they claimed that some of that influence kind of went into Disney World later on, and the stories from that era, and also there happened to be a serial killer going on in Chicago, and so all the visitors that came, which were millions and millions and millions of them, um, several hundred disappeared, and nobody has ever heard from them again.
So, those are some reading recommendations. I hope you get back in the habit, and, enjoy!