Reading books remains one of the best ways to become a better person, engage with the world, and understand life’s questions, big and small. Most book lovers never go to bed alone.
A book is a dream that is holding your hands © BBN
In today's modern society, we all ask each other a lot of questions. But we should all ask one question a lot more often: “What are you reading?” It is a simple question but a powerful one that can change lives forever. Back when I was a kid, I had fallen sadly out of touch with my grandfather and haven't seen him for a while. I lived in Casablanca, while he was elsewhere. He would call my mum and ask her about school or about my day. I would respond in a timely manner the one-word answer: Fine. One year later, my grandfather came back to my hometown and asked him out of curiosity what he was reading. He had just started "Imperialism a History in Documents", a book which delves deeper in the evolution of political economy. Despite my young age, he told me to read it.
At first, I didn’t know what to expect, but I found myself hooked from the first pages. I gave this book a shot and read the first volume so that I could talk about it with him the next time I will see him. This book helped me cut through the superficialities and engage with my grandfather on the most important questions that humans face about survival and destruction, loyalty and betrayal, good and evil, as well as politics. Ever since then, I have developed a strong bond with him by always having thorough conversations. Thanks to this book, we became close to each other, realised that we have a lot of commonalities and most importantly I have become a bookworm.
As seen in my real-life story, books are uniquely suited to helping us change our relationship to the rhythms and habits of daily life in this world of endless connectivity. We can’t interrupt books; we can only interrupt ourselves while reading them. They are the expression of an individual or a group of individuals, not of a collective consciousness. They speak to us, thoughtfully, one at a time. They demand our attention. And they demand that we briefly put aside our own beliefs and prejudices and listen to someone else’s. You can rant against a book, scribble in the margin or even chuck it out the window. Still, you won’t change the words on the page. The technology of a book is genius: The order of the words is fixed, whether on the page or on the screen, but the speed at which you read them is entirely up to you. Sure, this allows you to skip ahead and jump around. But it also allows you to slow down, savor and ponder.
Now more than ever, we need to read and to be readers . We overschedule our days and complain constantly about being too busy. We shop endlessly at Sainsbury's for stuff we don’t need and then feel oppressed by the clutter that surrounds us. We rarely sleep well or enough. We compare our bodies to the artificial ones we see on Instagram and our lives to the exaggerated ones we see on television. We watch cooking shows and then eat fast food. We worry ourselves sick and join gyms we don’t visit. We keep up with hundreds of acquaintances but rarely see our best friends. We bombard ourselves with video clips on Whatsapp, useless emails and instant messages on Facebook. We even interrupt our interruptions. And at the heart of it, for so many, is fear—fear that we are missing out on something. Wherever we are, someone somewhere is doing or seeing or eating or listening to something better. I’m eager to escape from this way of living. And if enough of us escape, the world will be better for it. Connectivity is one of the great blessings of today's modern world, and it makes extraordinary things possible. But constant connectivity can be a curse, encouraging the lesser angels of our nature.
We are all destined to accomplish great things in our life, we do all have a purpose. In order to make sense of this world, to become a better person, to get your head around the big questions that you have and answer some of the small ones, I highly encourage you to read more books. They can increase our capacity for empathy by engaging our imagination as they introduce us to new perspectives. I know I’m not alone in my hunger for books to help me find the right questions to ask, and find answers to the ones that I have. I am now in my early-20s, a classic time for introspection, but there is no age to start examining life. Most of the time, when I choose what I’m going to read, it has absolutely nothing to do with improving myself. Especially when I’m at my happiest, I’m unlikely to search for a book to make me happier. But it’s often during these periods of non-seeking that I’ve stumbled across books that have changed my life forever: Today, a reader, tomorrow a leader.
Badr Berrada is a tech entrepreneur & international best-selling author. As a Founder & CEO of BBN Times, he manages a team of more than 150 renowned industry experts. He has been featured in renowned publications such as Forbes Magazine, Yahoo! News, Thrive Global, Irish Tech News, Herald-Tribune and IdeaMensch. He co-authored The Growth Hacking Book: Most Guarded Growth Marketing Secrets The Silicon Valley Giants Don’t Want You To Know, The Growth Hacking Book 2 : 100 Proven Hacks for Business and Startup Success in the New Decade and Innovating at Ten. Badr holds a master's degree in Economy, Risk and Society from the London School of Economics and bachelor degree in Finance from Cass Business School.