Picture date night with your boo.
Kids are with the in-laws.
You splurge on 2014 Chateauneuf Du Pape.
Tipsy and holding hands like college lovebirds, you saunter back home.
You kick open the bedroom door. (Siri, play Sade.)
And to your horror, your bed is littered with books.
This picture made the rounds on LinkedIn and Twitter.
First, it was under the flimsy advice of “Books to supercharge your leadership.”
Then it migrated to
“Team fiction” was quick to point out that reading Moby Dick could lead to “increased social acuity and a sharper ability to comprehend other people’s motivations.”
What’s on your Kindle?
Personally, I don’t have a horse in this race.
For the first 15 years of my career, I only read finance books, leadership and self-improvement books.
During the next 5 years, mostly fiction.
And now, I read a diverse mix of all genres. (Go figure.)
What I find interesting is the “why” behind the selection of any book.
And for many, it seems like “the why” behind their reading choices is simple.
Reading a book should make you a better human.
But does everything need an outcome?
Non-fiction has a clear ROI.
You learn a new skill.
You better understand how the world works.
You become more interesting at cocktail parties.
Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with striving to be a better human.
But can’t you also read for pure joy?
To get wrapped in a story where you encounter another version of yourself.
To wonder about a world that looks nothing like the one you inhabit.
To laugh, cry and experience awe.
In all these instances, the act of reading is the journey. And there’s is no destination.
The outcome doesn’t matter.
This duality plays out more broadly in life.
We exercise… to live longer.
We meet people… to grow our network.
We save money… to buy a bigger home.
But we also sit around the table with friends… because they’re our friends.
We hike epic trails… to experience the grandeur of Mother Nature.
And we build puzzles with the little ones… for the hugs and snuggles.
So when you lay all your books on your bed for the ‘gram – how many are there for the pure unadulterated joy?
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