It is so true that a reader’s takeaway is very individual. We all get something different from the books we read. Mainly because it connects back to our personal experiences, both positive and negative.
Some people choose the act of reading as an escape from their daily life, or for pure entertainment, or to learn. It’s widely known that President Obama is an avid reader of books. This article in the New York Times: Obama’s Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books, explains why. “At a time when events move so quickly and so much information is transmitted,” he said, reading gave him the ability to occasionally “slow down and get perspective” and “the ability to get in somebody else’s shoes.”
Learned empathy has long been recognized as one of the wonderful rewards of reading, so it’s no surprise that Obama, ever empathic, seeks to do just that by reading. But my favorite part of this was hearing what Obama learns from reading Shakespeare: “His embrace of artists like Shakespeare who saw the human situation entire: its follies, cruelties and mad blunders, but also its resilience, decencies and acts of grace. The playwright’s tragedies, he says, have been “foundational for me in understanding how certain patterns repeat themselves and play themselves out between human beings.”
Read books. Any kind of books. Short ones. Long ones. Easy ones. Hard ones. Illustrated ones. Goofy ones. Serious ones. The upside is limitless. Not least of which is learning about the human condition. If the President can make time to read on the daily, so can we!