Doing this pleasurable activity just 30 minutes a day can add years to your life

By CW Headley & April C. Osborne

I used to have this complex about literature where I’d only read terrible books because good books reminded me of how painfully prosaic I am. I read my first good book in about three years yesterday and I do not recommend the experience.

With audiobooks growing in popularity, most Americans occasion less pathetic reasons for not doing it dog-ear style as often as they would like, though a new Harris Poll survey of roughly 2,000 adults thankfully suggests that the want hasn’t wavered.


According to the survey, which was conducted on behalf of the e-book and audiobook subscription platform known as Scribd, the primary preoccupations keeping people from imbibing literature the old fashion way are daily chores, social media, and smartphones. Even with all of these deterrents in place, more than half of Americans spend at least 15 minutes a day with a book in their hand and 22% spend a least an hour a day hittin’ spine.

  • 81% of the respondents queried wish they set aside more time for books
  • 85% of philistines were too busy streaming movies and tv shows
  • 84% of Americans lamented an excess of daily tasks that they have to address
  • 74% were buffaloed by the beckon of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  • 70% simply prefer surfing the internet.

Across the board however respondents agreed that finishing a book gave them a sense of accomplishment in addition to making them feel more intelligent. Eighty-five percent of Americans said that they believe time spent reading is an investment in themselves and their overall well-being. Three-fourths of Americans genuinely believe people that habitually read are smarter than those that do not, 73% believe society would be better off if everyone did so, and 70% felt that their careers suffered for their failure to read more consistently.

From the new study: “People who read books for 30 minutes daily lived an average of 23 months longer than non-readers. Reading can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. There’s a link between exercising your brain and a slower rate of decline in memory. Readers are 21% less likely to report feelings of depression and 10% more likely to report good self-esteem.”

If you’re not reading as much as you like or should because you’re a troglodyte, go in good health, but if you merely lack the time, some good news. Ladders recently reported on a study from the Journal of Neuroscience that posits the following: “It doesn’t matter how you consume literature, whether, through headphones or your own two eyes, that reading or listening to words opens the same imaginative doors as someone who prefers to lug around a big book.”

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