| by Kenneth Chase | 4 comments

How to rent brilliant brains | James Banc | TEDxWroclaw

Translator: Denise RQ
Reviewer: Elisabeth Buffard Good morning. It’s true that American physicist
Richard Feynman said not to read so much, but I’m here to give you
a counter argument to that. Because the human brain it’s like the crown jewel of our body. It’s the most technologically advanced, three-pound organ on this planet. With it, some manage to create all the wonders we see around us, from space exploration
to beautiful sounds, that often fill this great hall. The potential of it seems boundless. What separates us from other mammals, is our ability
to accumulate this knowledge, and encode it, enabling also its outlasting
its creators who encoded it. With that, we can leave clues
for future generations, it enables them to contribute
their own breadcrumbs, along this big trail of mankind’s
perpetually evolving evolution. That unique human advantage shines depending on how well
we use our words. And books are filled with them. Of course not all books are created equal, but reading some good ones
can teach us three important lessons. First, it’s writing. Writing is a tricky business. Most people don’t get to write
past their Facebook and Twitter posts, and never develop a proper discipline
on how to write properly. Many great examples
that we can find, have books filled with them. But when you read,
you see how writing is done. You are going inside the author’s brain, you’re downloading their expertise, you are thinking as they thought, observing how
they communicate their ideas, and exposing yourself
to different combinations of words that tell better stories. It directly impacts
your own writing skills. Second, it’s speaking. Knowing how to communicate can be the difference between whether your voice
is remembered or forgotten, whether you’re pitching
an idea to investors, you’re asking for a raise, or simply trying to make
a connection with someone, but your speaking skills
affect the outcome of it. Books are designed to hook their readers, and they do that
by using curiosity to prize, and inspiration. The same skills you can use
to engage your listeners. Don’t let yourself get shut out by failing to connect in a way that sparked the imagination
of your listeners. Three, it’s empathy. Apathy, which is the opposite of empathy, exists in the absence of understanding that other people have feelings. It’s a place where violence,
racism and inequality thrives. But you have to open a book, absorb its voice and imagination, and learn to see the world
through someone else’s eyes. You become fully aware
of yourself and others when you get to do that. Reading makes us human. And I believe it’s the best tool we have, to rent other brilliant brains. But tragically, the importance of reading is getting lost in the noise of digital distractions
in modern times. Early this year, the Pew Research Center reported that a quarter
of American adults, for the past year, has not picked up a single book. That’s like all people living
in Poland, times two. It’s a big number. The number of non-readers, has nearly tripled since 1978. This is scary because the adults
are the essential role models for young people and children. Without their examples to guide them, the future generation of brilliant brains can lose sight of this great gift
we have inherited. Everyone knows,
we should be reading more books. But the common excuse that we get is, “I don’t have time.” Let me share something with you. CEOs of companies live
some of the busiest lives in the business world, and yet, on average, they read
between four to five books per month. However, the average reader, buys only one book a year, and most don’t even make it
past chapter one. But the average CEO earns approximately, 536 times what the average reader
earns in a year. That’s a big difference and that’s not by accident. They understand that their priorities and [that] you always have time
for what’s important to you. Whether you realize or not, the choice is yours. I made this choice,
when I decided to challenge myself to read one book a week. When I started, it was one
of the most inconvenient time for me. Living a complete frantic worklife, working in two time zones, and trying to build a brand new team, I had endless excuses not to do it. And everyone would have understood. But I tried anyway, and what started
as a small challenge for myself, ended up transforming into a passion. In fact, it has been
such a big part of my life, that for the past 14 months, we are still going strong. I’ve acomplished this, by following a very simple formula, which I will share with you now. So you take a book, an average-sized book like this, either a physical one,
an old-school book, or a digital one,
whatever your choice is. Now, the average-sized book
is about 75 to 80.000 words per book, which this one contains. Take the beginning, such as the table of contents, the copyright laws
and the foreword and etc., and now take the ending of the book, which includes glossaries, the index, and now you are left
with this main body of the book. Of course, if you want to read
the beginning, or the end, you can keep it in there, but if you don’t, — and don’t try this at home– So you’re left with
the main body of the book. The average person reads about 250 to 300 words per minute. So, if you want to read
one book every month, which equals to about 12 books a year, you pick a book about this length, again, which is about 80.000 words, and divided by your reading speed –depending whatever that is, but for this example we used
250 words per minute–, that will give you roughly
about 320 minutes to finish this book. Or about 10 to 11 minutes per day. And if you want to take weekends off, it’s going to take you about 16 minutes,
around there, per day to finish this book. That’s not a whole lot of time if you ask yourself. All of us can find 10 to 20 minutes a day, that our brains will thank us for. I manage to find my 5 minutes in a day, or my time throughout the day, by my usual 5-minute walk
to commute from work, from my flat to the office, although I don’t recommend
this one so much because, unless you have
a wide peripheral vision, you might end up
playing chicken with a tram. Also, sometimes,
when I am waiting in queue, I just take out my phone
and I read from there. And especially in between ideas,
when I’m at work, and when I need some fresh inspirations I happen to find it here. But the most important thing is, when you first start out, don’t try to read just the books, check up the number of them, but most important thing
is building a consistent habit. It takes at least 21 days to build that. Once it is engrained
into our daily routine, push yourself to read more books. Just remember, consistency
will be your key to success. Our brain is an never-ending mystery. We understand distant galaxies, far more than it’s between our ears, but we do know that brilliance
can be learned. It’s not some dark magic
that’s out of our reach. And one of the most undervalued tool that’s within our grasp, is reading. Not reading is no different from not knowing how to read. Reading makes us human. Thank you. (Applause)


Maciej Michalski

Jul 7, 2014, 3:03 pm Reply

Keeping a book in the restroom is a way to find those 10 minutes easily


Aug 8, 2014, 3:37 am Reply

You rock Won!!

Karolina Chomicz

Aug 8, 2014, 10:38 pm Reply

Great punch line!

Ivan D. Silva

Dec 12, 2015, 7:10 pm Reply


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