5 Things To Say To The Man Who Refuses To Read
This week The Reading Agency dropped the not wholly unexpected bombshell that 63% of the UK’s men don’t feel they are reading enough, and a whopping 75% of men would rather watch a movie adaptation of a novel than the source material. Furthermore, almost half of men say they read less now than they used to.
What can be done to encourage men to read more? Well, we’ve rounded up five good arguments to raise with men – or indeed either sex – who no longer raise a book to their face:
1. Reading helps you win arguments
Reading exposes you to a huge number of words.
Films and TV are great but only expose us to spoken language and, even then, our absorption of these words is passive.
Reading gives us access to words we don’t see, hear or use in day-to-day conversations. In fact, even children’s books will contain more advanced language than we use when talking to our friends and colleagues.
Reading gives us access to words we don’t see, hear or use in day-to-day conversations
Why does this matter? Well, the more words you absorb the better able you are to express yourself leading to greater employability, persuasiveness and attractiveness.
Got a colleague who always trumps you in meetings? Read. Struggle to sell yourself when applying for new jobs? Read. Don’t know what to say to attract potential partners? Read. It’s that simple.
2. You do have the time to read
Listen to the radio, read the newspaper or watch the TV for five minutes and someone will say ‘in our increasingly busy modern lives…’.
Indeed, it’s quite easy to get locked into a ‘busy off’ with friends, colleagues or siblings these days: “I came back to 200 emails after my fortnight off”, “Oh really? I came back to 350 after just a week off, that’s why I login by the pool on my holibags each morning to sort urgent from non-urgent emails.’ Yawn!
6 minutes of reading can reduce your stress by up to 68%
Could it be that we feel busier and more stretched due to the amount of information we're exposed to these days? As a global society we now create as much information every two days as we did in the period lasting from the dawn of civilisation to 2003 [techcrunch]. That’s a lot of information to process but is it all essential?
Reading is proven to reduce your stress levels and give you a sense of greater tranquillity. Feeling stretched and too busy? Switch off your WiFi and grab a book. You’ll feel better within 15 minutes. Indeed, a 2009 study proved that even 6 minutes of reading can reduce your stress by up to 68%.
And, if your man must play video games, tell them that reading improves your analytical thinking helping you to spot patterns more quickly. Read for a bit before booting up your XBox and you’ll be cruising through games in no time.
3. Reading is cost effective
The average cost of a pint in Britain is £3.18. Without the stats to hand, that’s about £0.19 more than the average cost of a good book in a second hand book shop. Even better, reading is still free to anyone with a library card.
A pint lasts about 30 minutes, disrupts one's sleep by making one get up for a pee in the middle of the night and, most shockingly, drinking just five pints a week is the calorific equivalent of eating 221 doughnuts a year.
4. Reading makes you very sexy indeed
Reading does have an image problem. Even in Game of Thrones, Sam’s the reader. However, what’s more attractive in a café: a man stroking his tablet with an unhealthy glow reflecting on his less-than-attractive concentration face, and mild double chin from head tiltage, or a man sitting relaxed, reading a good book lost in his own world?
Reading means you’re more likely to exercise, vote and be more cultural
Studies show that intelligence is one of the most attractive qualities to a potential partner and reading is the simplest, cheapest way to boost your intelligence. Enough said?
Throw into that mix the proven fact that reading means you’re more likely to exercise, vote and be more cultural [National Endowment for the Arts] and suddenly lights should start going off in a non-reading man’s head that they might be missing a trick.
5. Reading enhances your performance, for longer
If there are two things men are routinely, and often unfairly, accused of it’s their lack of emotional intelligence and memory.
Reading is like a gym for the brain. It's proven to be more neurobiologically enriching than processing images or speech [University of Buffalo].
As a pastime it also lets us pause, absorb and reflect while facing the problems of other fictional, and non-fictional, characters. By inhabiting the lives of others through books we enter a moral simulator for emotional and social scenarios, which has a huge impact on our depths of emotional intelligence. This can only help a man understand the subtleties of their partner.
And looking even further forward, reading helps to offset the onset of dementia and Alzheimers [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]. That can only be a good thing.