A Well Read Woman is a Dangerous Creature
They say a well read woman is a dangerous creature, and I could not agree more!
I have been a voracious reader from the time that I was a little girl. My mother would take me to the library two, three times a week to check out and trade in books. I read everything from Nancy Drew to Judy Bloom, Archie comics (hey Riverdale hey) and Shel Silverstein. As I got older, Sweet Valley High gave way to romance novels, Danielle Steele, all sorts of poetry, and biographies. And, of course, I devoured magazines and all things wedding related.
The birth of my babies had me trading my big girl books for Dr. Seuss. As much as I loved story time, I yearned for a more sophisticated story line, and I yearned to learn something new. I started slowly at first, and then ramped up to reading a book a weekend, which has been an absolute joy!
Many of you on my social have noticed that I am constantly reading something, and I often post the business and personal development books that I love most. I receive a lot of comments ranging from "How are you able to read so much?" to "Why do you read so much?" and I just wanted to give you some insight into my experience and why you should demand that your creative partners are doing something to exercise their minds!
The Top 5 Reasons I Read
And why they matter to you...
1. Words matter. I had a teacher who once told me that you cannot properly identify a feeling or an experience until you have the right words for it. That always stayed with me, and as I grew professionally words became more important than ever before. Beyond the obvious use of contract language, there is a language to design and experience that impacts the final product. Someone asking for a "fancy" reception may not like something overly "opulent" while a "rustic" has come to mean anything outside! To ask for what you want, and for me to be able to convey that properly, we need words.
2. Knowledge is Power. So cliche, but so true. The more I know about anything - from business to event design, pop culture to trends in architecture - the more I can bring to the table for you. Some of what I read is considered nonsense in that it isn't teaching me any hard skill, but it's inspiring me in ways that move beyond the intellectual. Sometimes a love story leads to an experience I can offer to clients. Other times, reading about a character's conflict resolution helps me deal with difficult situations. The world is a big place, and the more I can know about it the better I am in all circumstances.
3. Better Business Practices. Sure, this sounds selfish and in many ways it is. But my ability to run an efficient business with streamlined processes allows me to spend more time on the one thing that matters....YOU.
4. Mental Agility. Staying stimulated mentally helps me be quick on my feet. By reading through different scenarios; both real and fictional, I am able to work through different situations in my head before I am ever faced with them. There are so many different things you can experience in a book! Anticipating what will happen next in a story creates synapses that help me anticipate what will happen in real life, and I am better at thinking on my feet and reacting in a positive way.
5. Stress Relief. While I am not saving lives in the traditional sense, I am changing them and impacting them each and every day. The things I do, or don't do, change the wedding planning experience and the story that a family has to tell. What I add to or remove from a space impacts the emotion of the day, and years from now someone will tell a story to another generation about the time when they got married. Knowing this means that I am constantly operating at a high of pressure. I need to be on my game all the time; there are no second chances. Reading helps me take the edge off, unwind, and find my center. Sometimes, I escape to a love story, or a coming of age drama. Other times, I read biographies and bear witness to a life that isn't my own. And much of the time I read business theory, personal development, and how to books. They all relax me, making me less of a stress monkey that I was before.
One other thing, which I didn't mention above, is that kids mimic the habits of their parents. If I want to raise humans that are constantly searching, thinking, and growing, then I have to do that in front of them. As the world spins, I would like my children to find as much joy with a book in their hands as they do with an iPhone. I can tell them a million times to go read something, but there is nothing better than being snuggled in bed with two small people and a pile of books spread out on the comforter!
Who else out there loves to read? What are your must have books? I am always on the look out for something new! Please leave your comments below, and share why you feel that reading throughout adulthood is so important!
UPDATED: I was asked for some recommendations. Some of my all time favorite books, in no particular order, are: Never Split the Difference, The Gift of Fear, Silence of the Lambs, The DaVinci Code, American Psycho, The Notebook, Mafia Cop, All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy, The Virgin Suicides, anything from Rumi, Where the Wild Things Are, Crushing It, and Danielle Steele's poetry book called Love.