What does reading good books do for us?
First, they provide a factual, historical perspective on the way the world works and how people work, including our politics, philosophy, theology, and psychology.
Second, reading good books enhances and expands one’s vocabulary, the correct use of English (not American) grammar, and the ability to express oneself accurately. The better your vocabulary, the better people will treat you, the more persuasive you can be, and the more credible you appear.
Thirdly, you’re less likely to be conned into destructive, dead-end worldviews like Socialism, Collectivism, and Altruism, and you will know enough to recognize and avoid cults, propaganda, and Dysgenics programs.
Fourthly, you will attract and be able to socialize with the right people – people who can assist you in achieving more success in life.
More benefits mentioned in an article by Annie Holmquist:
- Reading Great Books engenders a spurious intimacy with greatness
- Great Books make students excited and satisfied
- They make students feel independent and fulfilled
- Great Books build respect for study
- They create awareness of classic books
- Great Books introduce the big questions of life
- They create models on how to answer those questions
- Great Books provide shared experiences
- They create gratitude for learning
Many great authors and achievers were and are self-educated, many never attended school or attended very little school, but they were all readers. This article about the exceptional author, Eric Hoffer, by Michael Dirda, is an inspiration. I recommend “The True Believer.” Excerpt from Dirda’s article here:
“Eric Hoffer was, if anything, even more remarkable than his book. When ‘The True Believer’ was published in 1951, he was a largely self-educated longshoreman, aged 50 or thereabouts (there is doubt about his actual birth date), a barrel-chested guy who earned his living by loading and unloading ships on the docks of San Francisco. Close up, Hoffer was genially round-faced, bald, with big hands, seldom going outside without a cloth cap on his head. He lived by himself in a single room, owned next to nothing except his work clothes, some writing supplies and a library card. When he spoke, he revealed a slight German accent and a marked tendency to grow excited about ideas.
“In the museum world, there is a category called “outsider art,” that is, painting and sculpture created by untrained “folk” artists. Hoffer practiced what one might call “outsider philosophy.” He simply followed his own lights, his own intelligence.”