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Opinions of Friday, 14 January 2022

Columnist: Abdul Rahman Odoi

Buying books and reading: Investments to behold

People are being encouraged to make buying books a habit People are being encouraged to make buying books a habit

Investments are ideally in many folds. However, it’s preposterous that buying books and reading have not found their places in the business plans of many, to be considered as such.

The most recurring question I have received so far within these two weeks of January is: “Can I get to read after you?” I’m fortunate to be reading some interesting books as the year got started. George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, and I just finished reading ‘Dark Days In Ghana’ by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. I would report about all of them at a later date. God willing.

The questions started dropping from different people when I posted the first book. I was thinking it’ll come to cessation, but upon their epiphany of my second read (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) and the small pieces of words I spent on these books made them lust over the book the more.

Three days ago when I outdoored my third read (Dark Days In Ghana), I somehow felt like hiding the post from those friends of mine who would be pestering with the can-I-get-to-read-after-you craze, so that they will not see what I am currently reading.

But with the mindset of helping to revamp the reading rage in the 1700s where, as novels became prominent, young people dedicated their last coins for book purchasing and, time, to reading. Even that the media called their sickened addiction for books as reading rage, reading fever, reading lust etc. I halted that selfish decision. And I thus made the post apparent to them. After all, it’s what’s app: I’m not distributing money.

In the middle of last year, at the end of the book of the month review, an event was hosted by Success Bookclub, chaired by Maazi Okoro, with the led discussant being Faud Muhammad. The book under review: ‘The Rules of People’ by Richard Templar.

During the discussion, a learned brother was also given the floor to advise us on how to make money from reading and writing. He said a lot of good things and one thing I disagree with (but that is for another time). The ambiance turned to a cemetery when he mentioned that his library at home alone is worth seven thousand cedis or more. That wasn’t a bragging verve: he wanted to encourage us to consider book shopping and reading as investments. No wonder, he doubles as an author and advocates against social menaces.

This is the type of investment worth emulating. We need to make a conscious effort towards owning books and reading. So buy books. Start building a library. I know reading a book doesn’t churn out billionaires overnight. But the kind of priceless information buried in books is worth the investment.

Thus I don’t see the need to loan a book to a grownup person who uses a smartphone and has a “yam” phone aside. Who responsibly buys bundles from Mtn and Vodafone every day. Who wears the best type of watches and shirts and Lacoste etc. This crop of people don’t have any excuse than to see buying of books as luxurious as getting the latest MacBook.

If anything at all I’d consider buying books to those in their teens, to beguile them to develop the love for books and reading. I watched a video where a small kid has had his birthday presents being delivered. The beam of smiles on his face when he realized that among the many things he had asked, his dad had fulfilled his promise of buying him his long-awaited book. If a child can have this love for books, why can’t we grow our appetite for books and reading, too?

It’s true that our economy is overburdening us. However, we need to take some time for books (i.e., if we really want to be impactful like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Malcom X, Barack Obama, Michele Obama, Dr Ben Carson, Chimamanda Ngozi, at el.,) because with books, they conquered.

There is much hidden in books. Most often the investment reaped in reading are not entirely monetary but mind power and mental freedom. That’s why reading, in itself, is an investment to behold. When you read you become well informed. Your thoughts and behavior would be sharpened. And you make meaningful contributions to issues and policy formulation.

Prince Nii Gates is a very chatty colleague. He meets you today and starts bonding right away. We used to find that part of his habit a nuisance. Humorously, we nicknamed him ‘The Eagle’. For behaves as though he sees everything. And had it not been my reading of Tom Halaye’s ‘Why You Act The Way You Do’ I would always be fighting him instead of appreciating his character.

But the book exposed me to the four main human temperaments. Those that are conversational, risk-takers, shy, irascible and whatnot. This time I merited a lot from reading: I could at least tolerate that brother of ours. This is a mental freedom reading granted me. And so now when he’s making his usual rhetorics, I listen and would not grow any sentiment for him. But if he tells a lie, I would object it.

So the little coin you have, you can start buying books with it. I got ‘The Killing Tree’, a novel authored by Ray Bennett and Max Lucado’s book ‘The Gift For All People’ for five and two cedis only, all at Methodist Book Depot, Accra. Eventually, as my reading rage reached epidemic level then I started buying books that cost a hundred cedis and more.

A pleasant land, they say, it’s made of little grains of sand. Therefore, take this as an exhortation, and consider book buying and reading as investments.