When I first entered publishing, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the folks at InterVarsity Press had a slogan for a reading program they were promoting: “Fifteen Minutes a Day Is Fifteen Books a Year.” The idea was that if you could give on average fifteen minutes a day to reading, over the course of a year you could read fifteen books.
Having been a math major (yes, even though I’ve spent most of my career in editorial, I was a math major–but that’s another story), I, well, did the math. Even for someone like me who was (and is) a very slow reader, doing about 250-plus words a minute, and maybe only reading five days out of every week, that’s still fifteen two-hundred page books. I found that very encouraging.
With a modest investment of time I could enrich and entertain myself with novels, self-help, history and a variety of other genres. I didn’t have to carve out huge blocks of time to get something done.
The sad truth is that about half the adults in the United States don’t even read one book a year. A sadder truth is that even many people in the book publishing industry do not read books. I know because they have told me so. OK, so maybe that’s not a big deal for people in accounting. But people in editorial, marketing and sales departments have told me this.
For personal development, reading is hard to beat. For professional publishing development, reading is essential.
I am off for July. So I’m running some favorite Andy Unedited blasts from the past. This was originally posted March 3, 2008.
3 thoughts on “Fifteen Minutes a Day”
Well, gee, Andy: I thought you had some seasoning of the years and experience, but I never dreamed that you had been around for, as Kent Hovind so humnorously says, “Millions and millions of years.” He was, of course, referring to the evolutionists and our science textbooks from kindergarten to scientific papers. Now I see I shall have to take your literary ramblings with great buckets of salt in order to appreciate such genuine masterpieces of esoteric and exotic brilliance. It is enough to give an alliterationists (I just coined a new word for your vocabulary and for the American language (not English) spasms of enthusiastic, excruciating, exciting, enthralling, entertaining ecstasy. Hope you appreciate this effort to provide you with diversion from the tedium of the written word….
I too am a slow reader so to hear that you are one too encourages me. And to know that a small commitment of just 15 minutes a day can reap such desirable benefits encourages me to just “keep on keeping on”!
Your remark about half of Americans not reading a single book a year strikes close to home. My wife and I strove to instill a love of reading in our kids, and it worked with two of the three. The other says he “hates” to read and would never consider doing if for pleasure. Of course, he’s the one who decided to become an elementary school teacher. Oh, thank God that he has given all five of our young grandchildren a consuming love for books!
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