How Readers Become Active Thinkers

An unshakable belief in the power of people who read.

Raising my children to love the written word.

That’s my little boy up there. He’s sitting on the bookshelf steps up into the loft in his bedroom. He turned 5 last fall, but I think this picture was actually taken a few years ago.

He loves to read.

Sometimes we read books in the mornings on the beanbag. We nearly always read at night before bed, unless it happens to be one of those nights he fell asleep in the car on the way home. Now he’s starting to share books with his little sister.

How Reading Continues to Change the World

I supposed it’s a little recursive to write about a love of reading on Medium. Or as my mother would put it, “preaching to the choir.” But it’s so true!

Reading changed the world many years ago, as we all learned from Gutenberg and his typesetting press of 1440. Many years before that, in the 8th century, the Tang dynasty was getting the word out to the masses.

How can it still be a force to be reckoned with in 2018? With all the technological gadgetry, V.R., A.I., and all of the voice-activated technology of the day — why does reading and writing still matter so very much?

Will Video Kill the Written Word?

I’m sure you’ve seen the statistics about the success of video content on the internet. But what the science shows is that video + text is actually the most winning combination.

The consensus is that the different forms of content activate different parts of your brain.

Video may elicit emotions and feelings quite powerfully. But reading is what makes you ponder a concept. Reading is more likely to get your brain spinning in such a way that you tend to add your own thoughts to the mix.

At least that’s how I experience it.

What happens to the kids that DON’T have a book-crazy Mom? What happens when the TV gets used as a babysitter? When videos on a smart-phone social media feed become someone’s sole portal to the world?

I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons — a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth — how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn’t read. And certainly couldn’t read for pleasure.
 — Neil Gaiman

Arianna Huffington recently wrote a piece about The Great Awakening that talks about the exposure of the science of the addictive algorithms behind so much of technology today.

She wrote about the ramifications of nefarious manipulations of the news on the social feed, and how false perception of reality as it occurs on the screen has so many potentially negative effects on our brains.

Even in 2018, I feel like mindful reading is a format that is still ferociously relevant. And desperately needed.

In this world we need more thinkers.

We need more readers. We need more people who are willing to contribute their ideas to the collective consciousness.

I believe in the idea that we are all here to experience our lives as a little piece of the existence of the whole. This requires our active participation.

Passive consumption of media that others have created is not sufficient on its own. By generating and contributing your ideas to the body of work created by all of humankind, you gain access to the deep satisfaction of being part of CREATION. As a creator.

Not that video or graphic art aren’t important as well. They certainly have their place and their purpose. Content in these forms can be a lot of fun to consume. But it seems to me like these could exist most harmoniously if they act as the side dishes to a main entrée of reading.

This is why I am teaching my children to love stories, books, and the art of reading.

Medium + Wordpress + Authentic Digital Strategy

It is from these deeply held beliefs about the power of reading that I have chosen to write my blog from my truest heart and most real ideas.

I feel that in order to achieve the Purple Cow status of Seth Godin fame, the written word is (for me) the proper medium to communicate anything remarkable about myself, or my approach to my work.

Now I realize that not everyone considers themselves to be a reader.

And even fewer probably consider themselves as writers.

That’s ok. I am happy to work with diagrams, content in audio form, and of course pictures as my side dishes. All day, no problem. I’m not opposed to any of these kinds of content.

But my favorite interactions come from those who read. And THIS is why I have chosen to spend my time reading, writing, and making comments galore. Because I love most to work with the thinkers. Because I love to collaborate.

How to embed (and properly format) your Medium blog in a WordPress website.

When I sat down to write today, I thought this was going to be my topic of the day. Alas, I discovered something else inside my head that needed to get written down first.

The power of the written word.

So next time I’ll write a post about why I have skipped the Medium WP, and the Display Medium Posts plugins in favor of an embed method that looks more like Medium IS my actual WordPress blog.


Have a beautiful day y’all!