The greatest undoing of formal education is its inability to impart deep knowledge to most students. It barely scratches the surfaces of most subjects. Some schools only do better than others in that regard, but in total, schools are more recognized for awarding certificates than imparting valuable knowledge, in a profound manner.
People who gain the most value from a formal education are the ones who on the side engaged in developing their knowledge through self-study. So, reading came to the rescue, among other means of learning.
I am notable for asking people who told me that they studied computer science, what kind of computer science they studied. Because I have two classifications for them; those who studied computer science and can do the ‘thing’ like develop or design websites, apps, software, network and secure computers, and those who studied computer science and are unable to perform any of those functions.
I’ve come across folks in droves who never studied computer science and can perform excellently well on some of those functions while others, although studied computer science, but probably only know the names of a few programming languages, a few computing and mathematical theories here and there, which they can’t even apply in real life, and it ends there. Although, I live in Nigeria, and this is the case in many parts of the country, similar scenarios play out in other parts of the world in slightly varying degrees. My prying into blogs on the subject confirmed that.
That is the computer science example. Other examples abound in many other fields.
Read your way into mastery
For most people who are bent on developing an expertise in any field, their best bent usually, is the path of self-education. Like how billionaire founder of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk said he learnt to build rockets through reading.
No better motivation exists to spur you to pick up a book today more than this one; it’s an efficient way to build up expertise in any field of your interest over a period of time.
According to Earl Nightingale, “one hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.”
It isn’t an excuse to resign yourself to the conclusion that you aren’t the reading type. A subject that bore you to death, and it’s critical to the development of your mastery and expertise, leaves you with no choice but to pore though books or blogs to gain that vital information that you need to get ahead professionally.
Occasionally, you might resort to video tutorials for your learning of certain subjects, in which case books will only supplement the effort. In other cases, a book is all you need to give you most of the information.
Beside just building your knowledge and expertise, reading has many other benefits.
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Reading makes you emotionally intelligent
Reading has been shown to improve empathy. Empathy is an integral part of emotional intelligence; a skill that predicts career success and contributes largely to the successes of entrepreneurs. Several studies points to this fact like the ones published in the Science.
In addition, and according to some of these studies people who read tend to be better behaved than those who don’t. This can also be linked with their higher levels of empathy and social skills developed through reading literary fiction.
To reap the benefits of reading in their whole, reading a vast range of subjects related and unrelated to your field is important. Reading literary fiction and other forms of non-fiction is more effective than sticking to only one of the two.
Reading makes you better at communication
literary fiction builds empathy and helps to improve your vocabulary and language skills making you better at communication with peers, superiors and customers. A skill highly coveted by employers and bosses. Good communication is also a way to attract and keep customers.
On the other hand, non-fiction will help build your expertise as well as improve your vocabulary.