Books, as an invention, are just as consequential and significant today as they were 1,145 years ago, when the first book—the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist text—is thought to have been printed. And the same is true when it comes to the importance of reading.
Books have played a leading role in human development and progress by enabling the ideas and thoughts of past generations to be preserved and passed down. As a result, our store of shared knowledge grows with each successive generation.
The history of books is fascinating, as Irene Vallejo explores in detail in her own book, originally published in Spanish as El infinito en un junco and translated into English as Papyrus: The Invention of Books in the Ancient World. It’s a history that dates to the earliest manuscripts and the Library of Alexandria, and it encompasses great classics, such as The Library of Babel by Borges, the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, The Odyssey, and the love poems of Sappho, Ovid, and more. In her Manifesto for Reading (published in Spanish as Manifiesto por la Lectura), Vallejo explains how books shape our world and strengthen our bonds of humanity, our sense of community, and our communities themselves.
“The alphabet was an even more revolutionary technology than the internet. It built that communal memory for the first time, within the reach of anyone. Neither wisdom nor literature fit completely into a single mind, but thanks to books, each of us finds the door open to all the knowledge and stories in existence.” -Irene Vallejo, Manifesto for Reading
The importance of books to Globant
Currently, 57% of people around the world read print books, while 32% read e-books, 8% listen to audiobooks, and 3% read books in other formats, such as comics or braille.
Consistently promoting reading is a priority for Globant. That’s why Delfina Montoya, Globant’s Director of Talent and Development, took part in the 47th Buenos Aires International Book Fair, alongside Alibrate CEO Carlos Tramutola and Irene Vallejo.
Books are more than just an invaluable source of knowledge, wisdom, and entertainment. They’re also a means of meeting human needs: the need to learn, to connect with others, to envision the world through someone else’s eyes, and to know ourselves better—all made possible by words. Globant is endeavoring to promote reading’s virtues and benefits for individual well-being. The awareness of these positives, along with her own love of reading, is what prompted Milagros Olivera, Be Kind to Yourself Manager at Globant, to ask that the Alibrate app be made available to Globers at Globant.
“Books shape us because they transmit knowledge, but they also help develop reasoning and critical analysis skills, and they help cultivate creativity and imagination. They give us infinite power, an infinite ability to study, learn, remember, imagine…” -Milagros Olivera, Be Kind to Yourself Manager at Globant
Joining forces with the self-formed community of readers in Colombia, Milagros set out to build a new world—the world of readers at Globant. In doing so, she opened the door for them to access the large repository of material on the ALIBRATE app. Users of the app can download classic books, create customized libraries, and form book clubs. Alibrate’s recent launch at Globant was a complete success, according to Milagros, with 1,200 people downloading the app within the first week.
Today, books continue to be an essential tool for education. They turn readers into “stationary travelers” by transporting them to other places, realities, and times, while broadening their intellectual horizons and giving them a greater understanding of the world. At the same time, books also foster empathy, critical thinking, reflection, introspection, and analytical ability, and they expand our imaginations, our dreams, and our creativity. To put it another way, books enrich our human experience.
The relationship between reading and innovation
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” -Harry Truman
Reading nurtures our imaginations by opening us up to new ideas, giving us new understanding, and strengthening our minds. When we read, we’re enhancing our creativity and our ability to think up new ideas, which are the starting point for innovation. Without imagination, we would be unable to come up with new inventions, make discoveries, or tap into our own original thinking.
The habit of reading enables us to explore abstract concepts and concentrate deeply, while also stirring our curiosity and sharpening our communication skills. It’s no coincidence that many of the most successful people, both in history and in the world of business, are avid readers: Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, Elon Musk grew up reading two books a day, and Warren Buffett reads 500-600 pages a day.
If you’re not in the habit of reading yet, consider these benefits:
- Reading reduces your stress level by 68%
- It helps you sleep better
- It prevents cognitive decline
- It may help you live longer
- It improves memory
- It contributes to understanding and reflection about personal issues
- It reduces loneliness and nurtures connection, self-knowledge, and emotional intelligence
- It increases your adaptability, resilience, and flexibility
- It’s a source of motivation and inspiration
“We are the only species that explains the world through stories—that wants them, longs for them, and uses them to heal. Our true strength is creative. If we humans had not spun tales about make-believe lands like El Dorado or mythological beings like sirens, we would not have been able to explore uncharted lands or go to the moon, nor would we have been able to conceive of the theory of relativity, the automobile, or the computer. The impossible must first be dreamed, in order to someday be made a reality.” -Manifesto for Reading