Keep Calm and Read On
With the New Year dawning, many of us will be thinking about making some positive changes in our lives. January is the month for New YearÔÇÖs Resolutions, for abandoning bad old habits and taking up good new ones. What better resolution could you have than simply reading a new book every week?
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai recognises that a society of readers is outward-looking, tolerant and knowledgeable. This is why the government of the UAE nominated 2016 as the countryÔÇÖs Year of Reading.
DubaiÔÇÖs leader also reminded us that reading and the spread of knowledge are ÔÇ£key to national development and progressÔÇª to knowledge, and a bridge to reach the highest levels of innovation across various sectors.ÔÇØ Nurturing a culture of reading among the youth of the country is pivotal to develop the next generation of scholars and scientists.
The importance of books was in the spotlight throughout 2016, with the UAE government announcing the UAE First Reading Law ÔÇô which gives employees the right to read during working hours, exempts reading materials from tax or fees, and establishes a national reading fund. It aims to continue to support and promote reading in a sustainable way, eventually providing a huge boost to the knowledge economy.
Reading is incredibly important to personal well-being and success. It stimulates the mind, which in turn can slow the progress of AlzheimerÔÇÖs and dementia. Reading also combats stress. A well-written novel transports you into new worlds, putting your worries on the back burner for a while. It improves memory, focus and concentration skills. Books are also the worldÔÇÖs greatest source for new knowledge, honing analytical skills and improving vocabulary ÔÇô all of which can help success at work and promote personal development.
But thatÔÇÖs not all. Books transport us to new worlds, and different perspectives. They build empathy, and introduce us to other peopleÔÇÖs points of view. A library is perhaps the cheapest way of travelling the world through the written word. John Green, author of best-seller novel ÔÇ£The Fault in Our StarsÔÇØ ÔÇô now a Hollywood blockbuster, has said, ÔÇ£Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.ÔÇØ
In a world of technology and connectivity, where we are bombarded by images, visuals and information constantly, and spend a large part of our day interacting with screens, the humble book is more important than ever. For while digital devices, phones, tablets and the internet engage us constantly, this type of ÔÇ£readingÔÇØ doesnÔÇÖt nurture and stimulate the brain in the way picking up an old-fashioned book does.
So come 2017, why not invest in yourself by investing in a good collection of books? Check out your nearest bookshop, or head to the local library.