There is an ancient Chinese precept, “Read one thousand books; travel ten thousand miles.” With modern means of transportation, it is very easy to travel ten thousand miles in one’s life, however, it requires plenty of discipline and fortitude to read one thousand books.
When I was in elementary school, there was little entertainment. My father subscribed several magazines, such as “Youngsters’ Literature”, “We Love Science”, and “Juvenilia”, and so on. When the magazines arrived, I fondled them admiringly and read them word by word, page by page. Because I loved to read, I won several times in Reading and Knowledge Contest organized by school. Also, I felt very proud that I always completed best compositions in my Chinese class.
As my understanding grew, I started to read real literature, including classic poems and novels, contemporary literature and foreign novels. When I read a book, I was really into it; I rejoiced, worried and cried with the fate of the characters in the book. Most my dream and fear about the outside world are from books during that time. The books inspired me to pursue more knowledge and to explore the outside world.
After I entered college, I started to read foreign novels in original version. I ever read “Jane Eyre” (by Charlotte Brontë), “Love Story” (by Erich Wolf Segal), “Pride and Prejudice” (by Jane Austen), “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” (by Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe), “The Thorn Birds” (by Colleen McCullough), and so on. My favorite one is “The Thorn Birds”, which is a very feminine book about love, revenge, regional belief, lie and humanity. Novels reveal different cultures, religions, politics, customs and thoughts to me, and expand my vision of the world.
Reading can be leisure and entertainment. If you want to really learn a great deal from books, you have to choose the right kind of books to read. Firstly, read the classic books, because they have stood the test of time and they will provide you with various intellectual tools. Secondly, read the well-chosen books with different subjects, ideas and cultures, because they can increase your mental capacity and improve your understanding of the world. Thirdly, read the best-sold trendy books, so that you could stay up-to-the-minute, especially when you read in the technical and academic field.
To get the most from books, you have to read with a clear purpose. For example, when I intended to develop positive attitude, I chose books such as “The Power of Positive Thinking” (by Norman Vincent Peale), “Think Rich and Grow Rich” (by Napoleon Hill) and so on. I read attentively and those books really help me keep cool in negative situations. When I tried to improve my communication skills, I read books with title such as “Everything You Need to Know about Effective Communication at School and at Work” (by Annie Leah Sommers), “How to Talk to Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere: the Secrets of Good Communication” (by Larry King) and etc. Consequently, I can communicate more professionally and effectively. Read with a purpose and depth, you can find actionable ideas from the books to improve yourself.
To get into the treasure hidden in the books, you have to have a focused mind and a peaceful heart. When you read with an undisturbed mind, you can think deeply and reflect yourself. Afterwards, you can put the thoughts from the books into practical use. With a concentrated mind, I read at least an hour everyday; so far, I have finished more than 100 English books, most of which are self-improvement books. I feel I become more emotionally mature. The most straightforward benefit of reading is that my writing skills in English have been improved significantly.
Reading good books is like meeting great people and conversing with great minds, which will challenge your way of thinking, shape your outlook of life and bring the better side of you out. It feels like you have a lot of mentors and friends you never meet and they provide you a new platform of learning and growth. Learning from the other people’s experience and wisdom, you can save your time to find the right path to inner peace and success.