I stumbled upon this article recently and am still reading it. Even though I am still reading, I wanted to share a thought that came to my mind after reading the first sentence.
Andy’s (author of the article) argument was that when you read a non-fiction book, like "The Selfish Gene", "Thinking, Fast and Slow", "Guns, Germs, and Steel" you don’t actually end up remembering the contents of the book. While you read it, you think “Yeah, that’s cool, I’ll remember that”, however, in reality you really absorbed only a couple of things max.
Deep inside, I agreed with his statement. (Actually, I agreed even on the surface.). That made me think, “Why the hell we read books, if we don’t remember the contents?”. The question did not torture me for long, the answer came almost instantaneously.
When you read a non-fiction book (or fiction sometimes) and see something interesting you make a little change in your life. This change could be psychological or physical, it could be done in your conscious or subconscious mind, but nonetheless it makes a change (usually positive). When you read often, those little changes add up. The compound effect of those changes is HUGE! Just think about it, if you make a small positive change to your behavior or actions, whatever they are, every day, what will happen in a year (365 days)... You will be a different person! This is a recurring theme in many books, articles and posts about good habits, success and all other positive life goals. One good example is a book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.
So, if you ever think that there is no point in reading books, just because you don’t remember every word of it, that’s not true. The point of reading is to improve, to become smarter and make better decisions. This can be any non-fiction (and sometimes fiction). For example, if you ever decide to read an autobiography of a great person (let’s say Benjamin Franklin), it doesn’t matter that you don’t remember the whole story of his life or each of his habits, it really doesn’t. No one can remember everything (only Joshua Foer can, he can remember everything). What matters is that while you read you pick up those little things that automatically get infused into your life and ultimately make you a better person.
Read. Improve. Make your life better.
P.S. This can count as a silly reason for reading books, but I don't care. Reading is fun. When you acquire the habit of reading, you do actually start to enjoy it.
Check out my post on how to get books for free, that might make it easier to acquire the habit.