Is anyone else shocked that people don’t really read any more? Because I sure am.

Recently, I was asked to draft a letter to a patient population for a large medical practice. I did so, and was pleased with the result. It was three pages, and it broke down a lot of complicated information admirably. It was charming, too.

Then a committee got hold of it, and there went the charm. There, also, went the clarity! The number one complaint of patients in that practice was that the letter wasn’t clear! It was three single-spaced pages. It explained a complex new arrangement for participating in the practice.

People didn’t read it. Maybe that’s why I liked this quote from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge:

Readers may be divided into four classes:

  1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.
  2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.
  3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.
  4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also.

So which are you?

It’s easy to let our Information Overload world turn us into sponges. It’s also easy just to scroll through what we read just to say we’ve done it like the sand-glasses. Lots of folks are strain-bags, those who get the gist and damn the details.

The Mogul diamonds, however, are, as Coleridge alleges, few and far between. That’s what I aspire to be.

In this past week alone, I have forwarded two articles from the New York Times to people who I thought would benefit from them because I had. One was on the quality of supplements which I sent to an Apothecary Manager to send to her referring physicians. The other was an article on a beautiful death which I sent to the executor of my will so that we’d discuss what we wanted around our own dying before we needed to know it. Both people agreed that the articles were useful and thanked me deeply.

Make time to read, my friend. If you do, I can guarantee it will definitely change you. Share what you read, and it will change the people you know. And who knows? Maybe, just maybe, if you keep reading, and keep sharing, it might, or, you might just change the world.

Mogul diamond readers rock.