The intellectual beauty queen

Reading is like taking a tour through history. It’s a continuous and permanent journey in which knowledge has no end.

Turki Aldakhil
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Our connections to items that were popular years ago has now greatly changed. There is a short video that shows items that were possessed by many in the 80s and 90s such as simple toys, cassettes and other things that at the time were indispensable.

A few weeks ago during a television interview, former Miss Lebanon Nadine Nassib Njeim spoke about the lack of a connection between people and books. This seemed like a strange statement to be made by a celebrity who is presumed to convey fluffy ideas or discuss trivial matters. The statement was not made by a bespectacled intellectual while sipping his morning coffee near a window.

The point is that technology has taken over our lives through tablets and smart phones which have many advantages such as facilitating communication, getting closer to others and managing work affairs. However, the phenomenon can dominate one’s life, distract their mind and destroy their wit.

One of the best habits is to dedicate time for reading and learning no matter what the circumstances are. For instance, one can read in the metro or on the tram in Dubai and it’s delighting to see relaxed passengers read a book. It is not a condition to read next to a lamp while sitting on a leather chair in the middle of the night, and you must not follow a long ritual to get some reading done. Reading a few pages in the metro or the plane or the café may influence us a lot. We all go to the airport two hours before the plane takes off. We can use this time to read a precious book or read an enjoyable fantasy story or a book that challenges our convictions. It’s with time that we realize how the 20 or 30 pages we read have influenced us and changed us towards possessing positive or practical knowledge and helped us develop our social behavior and emotional intelligence.

If we read prominent figures’ biographies, we’d learn how attached they were to books and how their extensive knowledge was the outcome of reading during their entire lives. When late Egyptian journalist, poet and literary critic Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad read Bertrand Russell’s works, he was impressed with his philosophical ideas that greatly influenced him. Aqqad thus wrote a lot about thought and an example is his book “Thought on Islamic Duty.” During the day, philosopher Roland Barthes read modern and controversial books while before going to bed, he read an old classical book. These two examples reveal how much geniuses were attached to books and knowledge and show the desire to learn more and enjoy knowledge.


Reading is like taking a tour through history. It’s a continuous and permanent journey in which knowledge has no end.

Turki Aldakhil

It’s been scientifically proven that reading plays a role in man’s psychological balance as it helps him relax and feel comfortable and positive when he reads everyday for 20 or 30 minutes. This allows one to engage in discussions and dialogues and enhances his self confidence during occasions and gatherings. Without reading, one will repeat the same statements he makes. Reading for this short time on a daily basis is not a difficult task to commit to.

In Omar Amiralay’s documentary “The Man with the Golden Soles” which is about former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, the latter spoke about culture and said it’s rare for him not to read a book each week. This wealthy politician who was known for his international connections was very well-aware of the importance of reading as that’s how he updated his knowledge in the world. Reading is an investment in the mind and is a means of recreation. Books are a blessing to everyone, wealthy and poor.

Reading is like taking a tour through history. It’s a continuous and permanent journey in which knowledge has no end.

This article was first published in Okaz on February 8, 2017.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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