We live in a great day and age. Information is readily available at all times. We have cable TV, radio, computer applications and the Internet. We’re experiencing information overload most of the time.
Unfortunately, some people are not able to take advantage of the benefits of the Information age. The reasons may range from lack of access to an inability to use information literacy tools. And some people are not interested in the benefits of technology and information.
However, there is only one real barrier to taking advantage of the information age. The irony is most people impose the barrier on themselves. Yes, it is true.
There is one fundamental skill needed to take advantage of all the information around us. Everyone has the skill in varying degrees. The skill is reading. Yes, reading is the only mandatory skill needed to take advantage of the information age. How else can one assimilate all the knowledge available to us?
Now, let’s consider why people don’t realize reading is their barrier to the information age. The simple answer would be the reason why they are reading. There are two main reasons why people read. The reasons are for pleasure and work.
People read for pleasure and leisure. There are thousands of books published every year on a multitude of topics. The book stores are full of books and magazines. You can read fiction and or non-fiction. The thing about doing anything for pleasure and leisure is you get to it when you can. And there is nothing wrong with that.
People read work related material. There is email, reports, and paperwork of all kinds to be read. And much of this reading can be tedious and boring. Work related reading can cause fatigue and negatively impact reading for any other reason. Outside of the regular reading material for work there are trade journals and magazines to be read. Truly, this kind of reading is enjoyable but your employer may not allot time for it on the clock.
You need to be aware of another kind of reading. This kind of reading will allow you to take advantage of the information age. You should be reading for expert knowledge. Now reading for expert knowledge is not quite the same as reading for leisure or for the job. Reading for expert knowledge has a different end result. The end result of reading for knowledge is to become an authority on a topic. When you read this way, you are reading to gain insights, skills, tips, hints, tricks of the trade, and an insider’s working knowledge of a topic. When you read this way, you systematically read trade journals and magazines, articles, and books for a specific period of time. You may read about one topic for a year and then move on to a related topic. Or you may read several books on one topic over a long weekend. Read several authors with opposing views to get a sound overview of any subject or topic. Find other media and opportunities to supplement your quest for expert knowledge. In no time, you will discover that you know more about your topic than the average Joe.
So, how else can you benefit from reading? Reading will give you ideals. Reading will challenge your views, and expose your biases and prejudices. Reading will introduce you to new people and places. Reading will inspire you, tickle you, change you, and tug on your heart strings. Reading will give you many hours of enjoyment. And by the way, reading will make you smart.