The Need to Read

Key Takeaways

  • Your school textbooks gave you all the answers to every test you ever took in school, but in the real world, real life is not like that.
  • People read for all kinds of reasons and they will interpret a book differently depending on where they are at that moment in life.
  • If a book doesn’t capture your attention or captivate you in the first 20 minutes of reading it, then put it down and move on.

One of the things I loved about school was that the teachers gave you all the answers to the tests. You might be wondering what I mean by that, but they gave you a book, and you read that book throughout the semester. They then tested you on all the facts within that book. So, they basically gave you all the answers.

It’s a pretty insular way of learning about life, because as we know, the real world just isn’t like that. But for a lot of us, it’s hard to make the transition to reading for other purposes, like reading to understand yourself or the world around you, or perhaps to build up virtues or habits, or whatever you want to do.

We all read for different reasons. Some people like to read fiction, others, a lot of nonfiction. It’s interesting because it does different things to us, but there are no answers. There’s just exploration, how we apply it to ourselves, and how we then translate it back in to the world. We read other people’s thoughts, ideas, experiences, what they believe to be true or false, or how they view the world from a particular perspective. It can be very enjoyable.

I also believe that you will interpret a book differently depending on where you are in life at that moment. If you are trying to develop yourself in business, then you’ll read certain books for that purpose. Or if you are looking at what life means to you, or you are trying to make an impact somewhere, or perhaps looking to reinvent yourself in retirement, then you are going to read books in a different manner. Even different kinds of authors are going to have varying impacts on you and how you interpret things.

Having been a writer for two decades myself, I’m always searching for ways to make an impact for those who read what I write. I’m very careful about what I pick up and read. If I read a book and it’s not capturing my attention or getting through to me within 20 minutes, I stop reading it and move on.

I used to try to power through a book and just trudge through to the bitter end, but I realized it had become important to me, and probably to you as well, to read for what’s most impactful to where I am in my life. I want to be able to understand better, wherever I am on life’s journey, so I don’t waste my time reading something that’s not speaking to me.

Keep that in mind the next time you pick up a book; don’t waste your time reading something that’s not speaking to you where you are in your own life’s journey.

Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.
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