Book Ripple Effect

All throughout elementary school and up until about the end of my first year of University I probably only read a total of three or four books. These few books I read only because teachers provided time windows during which you were forced to read. Even when the majority of my English class grade depended on reading a book, I would usually cheat my way through doing so by “researching” online.

Most of this was due to my addiction to video games and the lack of interest in anything but slaying dragons and attaining killstreaks. After completing the first year of University things changed. I realized my actions weren’t aligned with my future goals and wanted to figure out what aspects of myself I needed to change.

I didn’t know whether information related to self-improvement actually existed, so I turned to Google. After searching some keyword, a list of books appeared at the top of my browser and I began reading the reviews of each. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was listed and had plenty of positive reviews. I purchased it, read it, followed by the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey and continued down a path of other Amazon suggested books.

Each book had profound changes on the way I viewed the world, immediately changing my behavior. My video game addiction was pretty much entirely replaced with programming. My goals became far more ambitious and I gained better control of my emotions. The books provided me with a high sense of belief which in turn made me crave working towards what I wanted.

Often I would run into philosophies which not only changed how I acted but also why. The initial goals that I set out to achieve when beginning to read were far different just a few weeks down the road. I began to realize just how little I actually knew and the vastness of knowledge that can be attained.

Later when I began my second year of University, the information that I gathered through these seemingly irrelevant books had a major impact on my performance. My grades were far better than ever before, and I truly felt like I was on track. It was odd because for the first time it didn’t feel like school was a chore.

Through time changes rippled into almost every area of my life, today, a large portion of my knowledge and behavior can be traced back to particular books. It is not to say though that books did all the work, after all, it takes an effort to implement the knowledge they possess.

Currently, I still try to read on a regular basis but find myself listening to audiobooks a lot more. Books which are more technical I read, such as Code Complete by Steve McConnell, whereas more laidback material I enjoy listening to.  I think it’s important to read(or listen) on a regular basis as a way of not only gaining new knowledge but also being reminded of what you already know.

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Karol Zdebel

Recent Computer Science graduate, and current Android developer.

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