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What the hell do we need imagination, focus, and reflection for, anyway? Who even reads anymore? Wo cares about investing in yourself with knowledge and insights from a thousand other lives? Here’s to the booklovers, the bookworms, the quiet types; the observers, the dreamers and the thinkers.

Reading is for losers

Reading? Ain’t nobody got time for that! I have to be honest. As much as I love to read, and aspire to be a good writer, I don’t read one tenth as much as I would like to. Why? Because, as I’m sure a lot of people do, I often feel as if there are more important and productive things I could be doing with my time. In the workplace, I almost feel it’s frowned upon. Reading a book, to be able to learn how to provide more value in the future?! Come on, now. Get to work!

And reading has, continuously for years now, a sort of stigma of being utterly uncool. Even being a coder nowadays makes you more cool than being one of these soft spoken lovers of books. Especially in a world of hyper cool social apps, digital tech; video, AI, Virtual Reality and whatever the next hottest thing may be (I’m putting my money on blockchain and crypto, quantum computing and smart lens technology).

Full disclosure: I’m a professional content marketing strategist, I specialize in written content. And I’m getting tired of my coworkers and a lot of professionals out there in the world of marketing downplaying the importance and power of the written word, to the so-called superpowers of video and every next new, fancy marketing technology. And it’s not just the marketing world. It’s everywhere.

Oh, and full-full disclosure: I’m an aspiring author too. If you like dark psychological thrillers with a touch of romance, erotica and at the same time philosophy – be sure to check out my mystery novel “Face Value”  which you can read free, here, or buy, here.

Here’s to the booklovers, the bookworms, the quiet types; the observers, the dreamers and the thinkers.

Booklovers? Losers who have too much imagination

What is the number one thing you need to really appreciate a good book, apart from knowing how to piece together the little black scribbles to turn them into sounds and words? Exactly, imagination. And what in the hell has imagination ever gotten anyone? Progress? Innovation and eons of incremental steps of technological and social evolution?

We live in a world where as a species, we’re having a hard time keeping up with the evolution of the technology we developed ourselves. Robots and AI’s are coming for our jobs. For now, that’s our livelihood, at least until we figure out how to implement something like a Universal Basic Income.

What the hell do we need imagination, focus, and reflection for, anyway?

We have a hard time focusing now, even when our smartphone is off and just present. Let alone when we’re constantly being distracted by likes, e-mails, and other notifications. Income inequality is getting worse by the minute and we’re basically losing our self-direction to the likes of Facebook,  Google, Amazon and Apple. Pun intended. My point is: there’s a potential shit storm coming our way. What the hell do we need imagination, focus, and reflection for, anyways?

Readers? Idiots who think they can carry a whole universe in their pocket

“A book is a garden carried in the pocket” is apparently an ancient (Chinese or according to some sources Arabic) proverb. I can only assume that the creator of this beautiful statement meant “garden“ metaphorically, as books can hold entire universes (sci-fi/fantasy) and even multiverses (advanced physics and again, sci-fi/fantasy). All you need to bring them to life is your good old fashioned imagination.

Incredible advances are being made in the world of 3d animation, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. These are readily applied for use in video games for instance, and for adult entertainment which, as a sector, we have to credit with consistently being early adopters. But the most amazing, multisensory, 4D Virtual or Augmented Reality engine we can possibly develop for use by humans will only ever be 99.9999 % as good as your own imagination. Dear reader, you are magic.

It’s like Charlie Brooker, of all people, says here, about the upcoming Black Mirror book:

“All-new Black Mirror stories from exciting authors – that’s a joyous prospect. And they’re appearing in a high-tech new format known as a ‘book’. Apparently you just have to glance at some sort of ‘ink code’ printed on paper and images and sounds magically appear in your head, enacting the story. Sounds far-fetched to me, but we’ll see.”

Booklovers? Losers with too much time

But, in the words of the Merovingian, “Who has time?” Who? In my personal life with a fulltime job, a fulltime wife, one fulltime baby girl and a part-time (but really, fulltime) son of 9 years old, plus side projects such as the blog I‘m currently writing, I can hardly find the time to read. How about you?

Yet, I have the time to check my iPhone an approximated 85 times per day, assuming I’m an average smartphone user. And on any old day I’ll have tapped, swiped and clicked a whopping 2,617 times if in-depth qualitative research by a marketing research firm is to be trusted. How can we ever have time…

Who even reads anymore? Hello? Hit me up on snapchat?!

Most of the time we spend on our phones is, according to the same research (and others), used up on social apps. Depending on your age bracket that social app will be something like Facebook (and or Messenger), Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or in Asia something like WeChat or the next coolest thing I’m not aware of.

So then who are these people that are somehow still reading more, not less? Specifically young people, apparently. Who are these kids that are making online reading platforms like Wattpad grow from about 40 million active users in 2016 to over 60 million active users round the end of 2017? How’s that for explosive growth, by the way? Or who is helping a Rotterdam based (yay, my hometown!) reading, writing and publishing platform by the name of explode to around 200.000 readers worldwide after only actively marketing the platform for about a year?

Booklovers? Nerds who don’t need superficial social media and likes to feel good about themselves

They must be nerds. They’re less active on other social media and they reportedly think being on a Snap Streak or longing for InstaLikes is superficial. They have a light tendency to identify as introverts and apparently need less social validation to begin with, to feel good about themselves. Sabine van der Plas, marketing manager and co-founder of Sweek told me that they’ve got a pretty clear view on their market from ongoing research – I’m not just making this up.

Shout out to my introverts and fellow ambiverts.

Ugh. Who needs quiet alone time and/or long, deep conversations after dark. Boring. Hit me up on Snapchat?!

Readers? Losers who don’t care about talking as much as they care about knowledge and understanding

And who needs an open mind? Fake News, schmake news. Welcome to the world where it’s possible for Donald Trump to become the president of the United States and where he himself constantly screams (yes, typing in caps lock translates to screaming) embarrassing, rude, and utterly dumb stuff that so often is simply not true. There’s too much information and too many opinions out there anyway, how could anyone ever get to the truth about something?

And how can you be honestly well-informed without being able to change your opinion once you’ve made it? Apparently it takes more than a tweet to change someone’s mind. Is it a coincidence that people who read and think more, tend to talk less?

Writers? Pretentious losers who think their thoughts matter

And instead of talking, these book nerds, when they want to say something, they’ll sometimes even start writing! As if writing is a decent way to organize your thoughts and connect concepts and knowledge you’ve dug up through listening to other people, doing research, reading, and analyzing.

As if one human can make a difference. As if words, speeches, or books ever seriously changed anything in the history of the world.

The Vedas.
The teachings of the Buddha.
The Torah.
The Qur’an.
The Talmud.
The writings of Confucius.
The I Tjing.
The Kamasutra.
Copernicus’ Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres.
Martin Luther’s 95 theses.
Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.
Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech.
President Barack Obama’s ‘Yes, we can’ speech.
Steve Jobs’ “So, we’re gonna reinvent the phone.”
Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper.

…I’m just gonna leave these here.

Reading? For idiots who want to invest in their own mind

What have you ever read in a book that taught you anything useful? Or, how can reading be of help as a practice of focused attention in a world that’s distracting us all to the point it’s scientifically proven to almost continuously diminish our cognitive capacity? Who says the most successful people in the world today read much more than other people? And who even needs focus in their lives anyway?

Books? For people who want as many teachers and mentors as books they can fit on their bookshelf

Who would ever want to be like ridiculous book nerds such as Warren Buffet, Bill Gates (reads about 50 books per year, which breaks down to 1 per week); Mark Cuban (reads more than 3 hours every day); Elon Musk who is an avid reader and when asked how he learned to build rockets, said “I read books”; or Mark Zuckerberg who resolved to read a book every 2 weeks throughout 2015. What do these people think they can find in books that they can’t find on Facebook?

Some people even go so far as to say that next to practicing focus, relaxing, calming mind and body and investing in your own knowledge and sharpness of mind, reading actually improves your physical, emotional and mental health. Consider the following health benefits of reading: It has been shown to help prevent stress, depression, and dementia, while enhancing confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction.

Again: we’re collectively losing our ability to focus, to imagine, and to self-direct. There’s a potential shit storm of technological dystopia mixed with unprecedented social upheaval coming our way. What the hell do we need imagination, focus, empathy and reflection for, anyways?