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  1. Post navigation
  2. Everything I Knew About Reading Was Wrong
  3. 22 Books That Expand Your Mind and Change The Way You Live - Darius Foroux
  4. 1. Don't make towering reading goals.

Whether reading or experiencing it, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Novels are able to enter into our thoughts and feelings.

While you can certainly hop into a VR game at the mall and have a great time, it seems that reading is the original virtual reality experience, at least for your brain. Any kind of reading provides stimulation for your brain, but different types of reading give different experiences with varying benefits.

Stanford University researchers have found that close literary reading in particular gives your brain a workout in multiple complex cognitive functions, while pleasure reading increases blood flow to different areas of the brain. They concluded that reading a novel closely for literary study and thinking about its value is an effective brain exercise, more effective than simple pleasure reading alone. Want to really give your brain a workout? Pick up a foreign language novel. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden tested students from the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, where intensive language learning is the norm, and medicine and cognitive science students at Umea University.

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Both groups underwent brain scans just prior to and right after a three-month period of intensive study. Amazingly, the language students experienced brain growth in both the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, with different levels of brain growth according to the amount of effort and learning students experienced in that period of time. If you're used to reading paper books, picking up an e-reader can feel very awkward at first.

But experts insist that your brain can adopt the new technology quickly, no matter your age or how long you've been reading on paper. In fact, the human brain adapts to new technology, including e-reading, within seven days.

Everything I Knew About Reading Was Wrong

Although your brain can adapt to e-books quickly, that doesn't mean they offer the same benefits as a paperback. Specifically, they lack what's called "spatial navigability," physical cues like the heft of pages left to read that give us a sense of location. Evolution has shaped our minds to rely on location cues to find our way around, and without them, we can be left feeling a little lost. Some e-books offer little in the way of spatial landmarks, giving a sense of an infinite page. However, with page numbers, percentage read, and other physical cues, e-books can come close to the same physical experience as a paper book.

Stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and that's a good thing for your brain. With this structure, our brains are encouraged to think in sequence, linking cause and effect. The more you read, the more your brain is able to adapt to this line of thinking. Neuroscientists encourage parents to take this knowledge and use it for children, reading to kids as much as possible. In doing so, you'll be instilling story structure in young minds while the brain has more plasticity, and the capacity to expand their attention span.

Not everyone is a natural reader.

22 Books That Expand Your Mind and Change The Way You Live - Darius Foroux

Poor readers may not truly understand the joy of literature, but they can be trained to become better readers. And in this training, their brains actually change. In a six-month daily reading program from Carnegie Mellon, scientists discovered that the volume of white matter in the language area of the brain actually increased.

Further, they showed that brain structure can be improved with this training, making it more important than ever to adopt a healthy love of reading. Group 3 was given no food at all. Afterward, the researchers had all three groups attempt to solve an impossible puzzle, to see how long they would last.

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What does this have to do with reading? So many delicious TV shows tempt us, reducing our willpower to tackle the books. Last year my wife and I moved our sole TV into our dark, unfinished basement and got a bookshelf installed on the wall beside our front door. Now we see it, walk by it, and touch it dozens of times a day. Make a public commitment. He goes on to explain how commitment is one of the big six weapons of social influence.

I stole the idea from bestselling author Ryan Holiday, who has a great reading list. Find a few trusted, curated lists. Related to the above, the publishing industry puts out more than 50, books a year. Do you have time to sift through 1, new books a week? Nobody does, so we use proxies like Amazon reviews. But should we get our reading lists from retailers? Finding a few trusted, curated lists can be as simple as the email lists I mentioned, but with a bit of digging you can likely find the one that totally aligns with your tastes.

Change your mindset about quitting. All you have to do is change your mindset. I quit three or four books for every book I read to the end. I subscribed to the New York Times and five magazines for years. After returning from a long vacation where I finally had some time to lose myself in books, I started realizing that this shorter, choppier nature of reading was preventing me from going deeper.

1. Don't make towering reading goals.

So I canceled all my subscriptions. Besides freeing up mindshare, what does canceling all news inputs do? That can pay for about 50 books per year. If you download Library Extension for your browser, you can see what books and e-books are available for free right around the corner. Triple your churn rate. Now I think of it as a dynamic organism. Always moving.

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Always changing. In a given week I probably add about five books to the shelf and get rid of three or four. As a result, I read more. In an era when our movie, film, and photography collections are all going digital, there is something grounding about having an organically growing collection of books in the home.