Reading Gave My Brain a 6 Pack



My brain is so much bigger and stronger. My frontal lobe probably has a six pack. They say some of the greatest leaders read a book a week, well I guess I’m a double leader and then some.

I’ve been so impressed with my own self control the last few weeks. The old me wouldn’t have been able to shut up about my new lifestyle as “guy who reads a lot.” The old me would have crammed a brag into every conversation. Even with strangers. Especially with strangers.


You: Welcome to fast food, can I take your order?

Me: I’d like a number 1 with a Dr. Pepper and I’d like you to know I READ OF MICE AND MEN FOR FUN LAST WEEKEND AND IT WAS A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE.

You: Oh…ok. My pleasure?



Luckily all these books have made me a new man and only a few people have had to deal with Taylor “I read 10 books last month” Johnson. And to them I offer my deepest apologies.

I feel really stupid talking about how reading is good for you because it just sounds so obvious. Of course reading a lot is better for you then binge watching tv nonstop for years and years and years. I feel dumb saying it out loud, though. Like I’m writing about how I just discovered smoking is actually bad for you because I just smoked 10 books last month.

But let’s get serious for a moment. Reading is making me a happier and healthier human being.



The more time I spend with a book in my hands means less time I spending on my phone. I didn’t even realize this was happening until one Saturday I spent all day reading and I didn’t even think about my phone until I took a break for dinner. That never happens. I’ve checked my phone 5 times since I started writing this sentence. You want spend less time on your phone? Replace it with a book.

I have been learning so much. On my new tour I want to train leaders and parents on how to be there for people opening up and confessing for the first time. So much great advice from these books are now living in my brain and I feel so much better equipped to help people.

I’m communicating with greater ease than ever. I thought that would sound nicer than “I be talking and writing gooder.” It’s like when you read you’re stockpiling words and ideas like ammo to use the next time you need to express yourself. It’s a workout for your brain. If you want to write, you need to read. If you want to lead, you need to read.



I could not stay this excited about reading without some help. If I was left on my own I probably would have lost interest a few weeks in and this post would be me bragging about taking a nap so intense it was technically a coma.

GOODREADS is the greatest resource (become my friend on there!). It’s social media for the books you’re reading. Keep track of what you’ve finished, what you’re currently reading, and the huge list of what you want to read next. You can rate, review, and see what your friends are reading too.

That last one is the biggest help. At the beginning of the month I deleted all social media except Goodreads so any time I felt the need to check my phone, all I had was an app that showed me how much fun my friends were having reading. “Oh shoot I should just go read” is all I could think.

Speaking of which…

Austin Kleon is one of my favorite authors to follow on Twitter. He’s always posting about his love of reading and even made this image I set as the lock screen for my phone. It’s a nice reminder.


Ever feeling like reading is too expensive? You don’t want to spend all this money on books you’re not sure you’ll ever read again? I know how you feel. That’s why I got a library card. Like a freaking nerd. It’s crazy that the government just has the buildings all over the country where you can go borrow books for free. What a world.



Out on the Wire: Uncovering the Secrets to Radio’s New Masters of Story with Ira Glass by Jessica Abel

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Why Suicide? by Eric Marcus

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Scandalabra by Derrick Brown

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach


*I’m saying “finished” instead of “read” because STIFF by Mary Roach was an audiobook I listened on my drive from Chicago to San Antonio and I’d feel like a real dirty liar if I claimed to have read it.



Are you feeling down and out? Did your hopes rise while the ball dropped on New Year's because you thought this year would be different but now you're not so sure? You're in a rut, a slump, stuck? Pick up a book. Any book you think would be fun to read. Don't start with one you feel like you're supposed to read. Read for you. Get in that book and don't leave until it's over. Put down your phone. Absorb the lives and thoughts of others. 

“Reading is thinking with someone else's head instead of ones own.” -Arthur Schopenhauer

Go. Read. Read slowly. Read all day. Read on the toilet. Whatever you need to do. Just don't read while driving. And then one day you'll be able to brag about feeling better and smarter and healthier just like I did for the last thousand words.

See you then.