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During my sophomore year of college, my roommate Ted decided to transfer mid-semester.

Fortunately he was he was a total jerk and a drug addict who didn’t respect my personal space, so that worked out well.

Anyway, when I returned from class one day, he was gone. His clothes, his posters, everything was gone.

Even his TV.

Oh no, not the TV! I thought.

Initially, I was scared.

No TV? How will I watch Dawson’s Creek? This is terrible! (Shut up. It was a great show.)

But after a while, I stopped missing it. I found other constructive ways to spend (er, invest) my time, namely, reading books.

After a few TV-less month had gone by, I realized that I was more energetic, more productive, and in general, happier than I’d been all year! Not to mention all the cool stuff I’d learned from reading.

As it turns out, I was onto something. A few weeks later one of my mass-com professors shared two sets of fascinating statistic with the class. The first set came from AC Neilson.

• The average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube.
• The number of murders seen on TV by the time an average child finishes elementary school is 8,000
• The number of violent acts seen on TV by age 18: 200,000
• The number of 30-second TV commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
• The number of TV commercials seen by the average person by age 65: 2 million
• Rutgers University psychologist and TV-Free America board member Robert Kubey explained that television that heavy TV viewers exhibited five dependency symptoms - two more than necessary to arrive at a clinical diagnosis of substance abuse. These included: 1) using TV as a sedative; 2) indiscriminate viewing; 3) feeling loss of control while viewing; 4) feeling angry with oneself for watching too much; 5) inability to stop watching; and 6) feeling miserable when kept from watching.


The next set of stats came from Para Publishing:

• One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
• 58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
• 42% of college graduates never read another book.
• 80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
• 70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
• 57% of new books are not read to completion.


Now, you might be skeptical when reading such statistics. (As you should be. After all, 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot.)

But whether or not the numbers are accurate, the lesson is obvious:


Me, I'm up to about three books a week. When you travel as much as I do, that's an easy task.

Just remember: open a book and you will open your mind.

Beats TV any day.

How many books will you read in 2006?

Set a goal to read at least 12 books a year. Start your list today. If you'd like a list of 194 Great Books to Read in the Next Five Years, email me and I'll send it to ya.

© 2006 All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of three books and a professional speaker who helps people maximize approachability, become unforgettable and make a name for themselves. To book Scott for your next association meeting, conference or corporate event, contact Front Porch Productions at 314/256-1800 or email

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-10-18 00:42:14 in Personal Articles

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