In my opinion, it is impossible to read too much, to learn too much, or to broaden my horizons too much. People tend to live in their own small worlds, rarely interacting with others who have different points of view, and as a result, they become staid and dull. People who don’t read, but who, instead, spend their time mindlessly watching television, thereby gaining the limited information provided to the masses and, therefore, suitable for less than intellectual pursuits, are cheating themselves out of a higher level activity. There is so much more to life than exists on TV! I am a self described “nerd,” who reads, then reads some more. As an example, yesterday, I read 3 newspapers, the Miami Herald, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, as well as a few chapters of a new book. Today, I have already read newspapers and research articles in several professional psychology journals and it is only the afternoon. Suffice it to say: I have read more in the past 2 days than many people will read all year! I can discuss, with certainty, up to date results of scientific studies in my profession, current events (including politics, if anyone dares to discuss them with me!), music news, and much more because reading has allowed me to expand my knowledge on a daily basis. Because I am a reader, I am able to formulate my own opinions on many subjects without being “spoon fed” dubious facts by entertainers who pose as legitimate journalists on TV. I am fortunate to be a very fast reader, thanks to my speed reading prowess, such that reading is the most efficient way for me to obtain new information. I am forever indebted to my late mother for starting my love of knowledge gained from reading. I even have her books in my library, alongside my own!
Reading is an topic on which Melissa and I agree. We read some of the same things, newspapers, but many different things, like our choices in magazines and books. When it comes to magazines, we inevitably mark or save articles from our individual publications for the other to see – the shared interests of being together for over 30 years! I envy her speed reading ability, but I believe some of the reading we do is not just for fun and enlightenment, but it is a duty for us, in our world of trial consulting, to be informed. We must know what is going on in the world, and especially in the places we work most often. This helps understand the Zeitgeist lurking in the background when researching mock jurors’ reactions to cases. It also helps to know what is happening, economically and socially, across our primary market of Florida. Thanks to Florida Trend for helping with this! When reading books for pleasure, we differ in subject matter with Melissa preferring non-fiction over fiction and me, the opposite. I want the diversion of mysteries, especially those set in familiar places. I can tell when an author has done his or her homework and researched the place and subject matter and I know I’ve learned things from fiction. We both believe exercising the mind is important and reading is an important way to do so. Why we mention it in a blog is partially out of an observation that our employees often do not share our interest in, or see the benefits of, such reading. I know I got my start by reading the daily newspapers growing up (and I remember there was a morning and an evening newspaper in Jacksonville). Then, perhaps sensing my curiosity, my grandmother got me a subscription to Time magazine, a subscription I maintain today, and maintained even when living in Australia. We have tried to further the cause of reading among staff members of the years, with varying degrees of success. The shorter attention spans of today create new challenges, and difficulties, for dealing with serious subjects. They are, in my opinion, are an outgrowth of people not reading, but instead, getting their “news” or information from sources which force feed the information, real or “fake,” in short segments. We’ll continue to read, and educate those we can influence about the importance of reading. RIF – Reading is Fundamental. Some of you will remember that campaign.