How Reading Books As a Child Changed My Life

If I hadn’t spent my pocket money on books, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.

Afzal Badshah, PhD
Practice in Public
Published in
3 min readMar 5


Photo by Raduz on Pexel

“If you don’t read a book for two days and talk on the third day, your speech will not have the sweetness that it does after reading a book.” — unknown

The relationship between books and humanity is as old as humans themselves — as old as human civilization. Our habits, which are formed by our thinking, shape our lives. Reading has the greatest influence on our thinking; when we read good books, we get good thoughts, which form our habits and allow us to live a good life.

Today’s man is suffering from mental stress. They are stuck in problems at home, with their neighbours, and in the office. The reason is that we have stopped reading books.

Our elders lived their lives, researched, and at the end of their lives gave us a few sayings and a few lines, but we don’t even read those lines. If we want to change the thinking of incoming generations and make them positive people, we have to give them books.

In earlier times, physical strength was considered important; however, with the advent of machinery, it lost its importance. If we don’t go too far into the past, people who could remember things were valued, and some people even called them geniuses. Robotics and smart systems have also caused this capability to take a back seat.

So, what does the world need at this time? At present, the world needs people who possess a high level of creativity.

But the question is, is our education system fostering creativity? According to my knowledge and experience, it is not doing so or very little. The only thing that can fill this gap is providing children with good books to broaden their horizons.

Photo by Kerem Kaplan on Pexel

I grew up in the village. There was no learning environment and no teachers in the village school. Neither the parents were aware enough that children should study. Since other children used to go to school in the morning, I was also sent with the goal that when I grew up and went out to work, I would be able to read the signboards of buses and cities and reach my destination easily.

There was a radio in the house, and BBC was very popular in those days, so I started listening to it. I was particularly interested in the news about space expeditions, so I would listen with great interest and try to learn about these missions. This thirst for knowledge led me to books.

When I was in 5th grade, I heard about pocket money from a child and was surprised to learn that children get money when they come to school.

On Saturdays, there was a market held in the village, and my mother would give me two rupees on the same day. It was an era of books and stories, so there was a stall in the market where short stories were available for two rupees each. I used to spend these two rupees a week on stories, which made me thirst for an education, even though my family was not connected to education. This thirst pushed me towards higher education. For my PhD, I would credit the books I read in my childhood.

Which five books would you give to your child based on his age?

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Afzal Badshah, PhD
Practice in Public

Dr Afzal Badshah focuses on academic skills, pedagogy (teaching skills) and life skills.