The Elegance Files, No. 5

Friday, October 09, 2015

Just a little series on being elegant, from tips my mother taught me and beyond. Click here to read more from the archives...

I read somewhere recently that "the average millionaire reads one non-fiction book a month," as an argument that successful people read a lot. I laughed.

"One book? A month?" I agree with what the source was suggesting, that in order to succeed in life you must invest in yourself: and the best possible way to invest in yourself is by reading. What I don't agree with is the fact that one book per month is considered "a lot." I'm reading parts of, if not the entirety, at least four books each month. I'm currently reading two non-fiction, non-school-assigned books. And I'm not even a millionaire.


Before you get up in arms about my suggesting one book per month is not enough, let me explain: I know some people read more slowly than others. I know some people have extraordinarily busy lives, busier than my own, whatever it seems like in my mind. But see the thing is that those who are not constantly learning something are loosing time - and knowledge. Your brain has to stay active to be active, so give it food - and if you don't think you have time to read, you need to go home and rethink your life.

You don't have to read four books a month, but you should probably be reading more than one. This isn't necessarily about finishing all your books in the span of one month: read them at your own pace, but don't limit yourself to one book, one worldview or one subject matter; rather, gather information from a variety of sources. This is how we have a better-rounded perspective of the world, instead of aligning ourselves entirely with the mindset of one book at a time. Furthermore, when you are reading more than one viewpoint at once, the system checks and balances itself and you are not half as easy swayed in what you know and believe to be True.

Finally, elegant people read a lot because when you're reading, you have things to talk about (and there's nothing so elegant as good, intelligent conversation.) When you read a lot you discover new things and remember old ones, and you expand your mental capability.

Read to grow your intelligence. Read to know yourself. Read, quite simply, to join the conversation. Before you know it you'll find you know a lot more than you thought you wanted to, a lot of brilliant and beautiful and fantastic things - and that's when you know you're really reading.

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