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A love letter to reading

Last year I compiled a last-minute Christmas gift guide but this year I am only giving books to my loved ones because instilling the love of reading is a very special gift.

If you are looking to invest in a good book and want to support an independent bookshop then check out Simba and Sloane. It is an amazing online bookshop selling books and art that amplify under-represented voices, so each product has a special story. I found them on Instagram and the manager was a delight to deal with. I highly recommend supporting them.

2020 has played a trick on us and made us rethink the art of distraction. Back before the virus plunged us into lockdown, I would spend a lot of my spare time in coffee shops drinking green tea with a slice of lemon and a teaspoon of honey and writing newsletters or blog posts. Sometimes I would meet a dear friend and we would talk about politics and get into deep conversations. What a luxury that was! Just writing this almost brings a tear to my eye.

With so many lockdowns, we have spent most of the year at home and there is only so much Netflix you can binge. And this is only for those of us without children who bring a whole different level of stress.

Each time I read a good book, I am hit by disbelief at how someone I have never met and does not know me can express with such eloquence my inner, most complex feelings.

And when I use the word “good”, I am not referring to the books that are praised by two grumpy critics that write for The Times or The New Yorker. If it is good for you then it is a good book and will expand your mind in ways you did not think possible.

Reading will do so much for you. It can enhance your life and your career. I have compiled a few of the amazing things that happen when you read:

1. Increases Empathy

By reading about the lives of different characters, especially when they go through challenges or must make difficult decisions, you gain a greater understanding of human psychology and increase your empathy bank. This also increases your emotional intelligence and helps you interact with people in your professional life.


2. Decreases Stress

Stress is a silent killer, and the effects are ignored by many of us. There is a fine line between positive and negative stress but if it is causing you to have health issues you need to seriously reconsider how you are living your life. This is where reading can help. Research shows that even 6 minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by 68%. Building a reading habit could benefit your health.


3. Improves Communication Skills

As you read you will learn new words and concepts and increase your verbal intelligence which will in turn make you a more effective communicator. Regardless of the industry you are in, being a good communicator is key to your success within your organisation. As the old saying goes “leaders are readers” and you are doing yourself and your career a disservice by not dedicating time to reading.

Happy reading and please share with me the books you have read recently that have changed your outlook on life or even just the ones that made you laugh.