Jennifer at Scraps and Snippets posted about Lifelong Learning at her blog, citing a 2006 article by Harvey Mackay packed with statistics to make an autodidact sprint to her bookcase and grab anything within reach:
- Only 14 percent of adults with a grade-school education read literature in 2002.
- 51 percent of the American population never reads a book more than 400 pages after they complete their formal education.
- 73 percent of all books in libraries are never checked out.
- The average American watches 32 hours of TV every week.
- The average American reads only eight hours (books, newspapers, magazines, Yellow Pages, etc.) every week.
- The average American annually spends 10 times more on what he puts on his head than what he puts into his head.
Consider the following:
- If you read just one book per month for 12 straight months, you will be in the top 25 percentile of all intellectuals in the world!
- If you read five books on one subject, you are one of the world’s foremost leading authorities on that subject!
- If you read just 15 minutes a day — every day, for one year — you can complete 20 books!
The idea of becoming an expert by focusing one’s reading on a single subject reminds me of a post I wrote about lifelong learning and Five Fat Files. In it, I referenced an online article on brain research that included a statement attributed to Albert Einstein:
Einstein said that if a person studies a subject for just 15 minutes a day in a year he will be an expert, and in five years he may be a national expert.
Literary agent Terry Whalin used those same statistics from the Mackay article to encourage writers to read regularly.
With these statistics, it is little wonder that parts of the publishing business are struggling (and even predicting the struggle will continue for some.)If you want to be involved in some aspect of publishing (books or magazine writing where your work appears in print), then you need to be committed to reading on a regular basis. It’s important to take in great information through reading. The experience will fill your mind and heart with something important which will influence your writing. Create a habit of reading.
So. After pondering the statistics and recommendations, I’m feeling positively brilliant for having read a few books in the past couple of months.
Just last weekend I finished Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love.
I also did a quick-read of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids and almost finished a short book by N.T. Wright entitled Who Was Jesus?
According to Mackay, I’m on track to being “in the top 25 percentile of all intellectuals in the world!”
It’s easy if we follow Mackay’s claim that reading just 15 minutes a day—every day, for one year—we can complete 20 books.
Just fifteen minutes a day.
I’m going to grab that book by Wright and finish it up. But before I head off, I’d like to pose two simple questions and hope that our answers will demonstrate that the blogging world can throw off Mackay’s dismal statistics:
What have you read recently…and what do you plan to read?