Last week, a friend send me one of the most entertaining articles that I’ve read in a while. The basic premise of the entertainment was the author blaming the downfall of civilization on a television show. More specifically, the show Friends.

With tongue planted solidly in cheek, the article made the case that Fiends vilified intellectual engagement and made being intellectually lazy, cool. It was funny and it was entertainment and it had a ring of truth to it.

The reason my friend sent me the article was that we had just been discussing what I believe is the biggest threat to American Business. It isn’t politics and it isn’t the economy, it’s stagnant thinking.

For my money, the two are related because stagnant thinking is a direct result of the intellectual disengagement made popular by TV shows like Friends. We live in an era where fake news is a real term. Where the average American reads one book a year, and half of those are romance novels. I’m not going to go all Thai Lopez in his garage on you here, but I truly believe that the answer is in getting back to books. Consider what we gain:

Fresh Ideas

I never read a book without getting at least one new idea. Whether it’s something that will help grow my business, improve my physical performance, or my relationship with my family, picking up fresh ideas makes the time I spend reading a worthy investment.

Mentorship

We may never get to be in the presence of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, but thanks to books, we can learn their ideas. Spending an afternoon with Grant Cardone to learn sales, Mark Twain to learn humor, or Tony Robbins to break habits, isn’t only possible, it’s rewarding.

Relaxation

Most of the people I know complain about not getting enough sleep. It’s little wonder considering those same people binge on Netflix in their evenings rather than reading. Getting to sleep is a lot easier if we unplug before bed with a book rather than a phone or a remote.

Feelings of Accomplishment

Think for a second how many wins you get in the average week. If yours are anything like mine, there aren’t many. Since I’ve taken up reading a book a week, I’ve noticed that the biggest benefit of all has been the feeling of accomplishing something when I get to the last page. Finding a win isn’t always easy, but finishing a book makes it possible 

Yes, there are many benefits to reading books. Picking up fresh ideas, finding a mentor, relaxing and the feelings of accomplishment are only a few. Fixing our stagnant thinking, however, is the biggest benefit of all. Intellectual disengagement is a serious issue, but luckily, the cure is only a book away. 

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