I found an interesting post over at Donald Miller’s blog on the importance of reading.  In it, guest poster Justin Zoradi shared these stats from the Jenkins Group:

  • 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
  • 42% of college graduates never read another book after college.
  • 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
  • 70% of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
  • 57% of new books are not read to completion.

Do you find these shocking?  Or are you not surprised by them?  I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

Dave Ramsey says on his program frequently that leaders read.  They read widely and they read deeply.  I would second his point.  It is very important for our own personal growth to read beyond our comfort zone and be challenged by new ideas.  Old books will ground us in our tradition and historical roots, while new book will expose us to the ideas and conversations that might be circling around our society.  Fiction expands our creative horizons and non-fiction challenges us to see ideas differently.  I would suggest that when you read, don’t do it just to get a notch in the belt.  Read it to be changed and challenged by the book.  Of course, some books should be rejected after you read them, while others should make you reconsider your beliefs.  As Francis Bacon once said,  “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.”

My encouragement to you is to pick up a book today, whether it is The Hunger Games or a biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  Read like Bacon (perhaps while eating bacon…).

Happy reading!

(I have written elsewhere about this subject, see On Books (and the Bible!) pt 1 and pt 2)

What books have you been challenged by lately?