In this day and age, everybody wants to be instantly gratified in the things they do. I’m not just talking about ordering fast food from Swiggy and watching Netflix and Prime on TV all day, but really in every aspect of life. At the moment of writing this post, there are petabytes of data available to us through the Internet that can be accessed from the palm of our hands.
And all this data is not just some social media crap related to who is stalking whom. But instead, there is an encyclopedia of knowledge with sites such as Wikipedia, archive.org and so many other blogs that share information regarding different areas and fields. Not only that, we even have full-fledged undergraduate and graduate-level courses on sites like eDX, Coursera, and NPTEL all of which I am a big fan of.
With all this information available digitally through talks, podcasts, courses, and StackOverflow, it would seem like that there is really no good reason to read hundred-page books anymore. After all, you get all that information condensed in “Learn XYZ in 1 hour” videos on YouTube. But in some way reading books is way better than watching a video on that same topic.
Without further ado let me get right into why.
1. Books can go deep and wide
Unlike tiny bits of information that you get in podcasts, YouTube videos, and blogs, books cover things in detail. Part of the reason for this is that there is no filter necessary when writing a book. On the other hand, this blog post for example has gone through countless iterations and filtering so that only things that are absolutely necessary and are relevant to the topic at hand are published. The remaining is simply archived.
Also, books can cover a lot of things related to the topic in addition to what is specific to the topic. Videos and blog posts on the other hand are undoubtedly supposed to stick to the topic for the most part, since deviating too much from the topic would result in “a jack of all trades, but a master of none” situation. This, therefore, makes books a holistic source of information.
2. Reading books forces you to develop an attentive mind
The one thing about books that are different from movies is that you are the one who has to visualize every detail that is written as text, unlike movies which simply render everything and give it to you, ready to be sent to the brain. With books, however, you would have to first make sense of what is being written by understanding it, and only then is it sent to the brain. For this reason, books generally have a narrower audience, and a higher bar for entry, when compared to movies and videos, since it is something that requires deliberate attention.
That being said, it is absolutely necessary for everyone to be reading books so that their brains are being engaged. One of the most common cognitive declines that come with age is Alzheimer’s, and it has been found that engaging your mind by solving problems and reading books can strengthen the brain’s functioning. Similar to how we go to the gym to exercise the muscles in the body, reading exercises the neurons in the brain making sure they are active.
3. Reading books makes you a better person overall
Though going through Quora and YouTube may quench your thirst with several bytes of information (guilty as charged), if you look at it from a distance, they don’t really create that big of a change in your life. Books on the other hand that is about a certain aspect of your life, can create a major impact on that area of your life. Therefore, it is best to start with areas that you feel you can improve on.
The Bible says that
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.Proverbs 18:15 (King James Version)
Knowledge is something that we all need to strive to get, and not just knowledge about God and the truth of life, but also science, history, law, philosophy, etc.., you name it. In fact, the Bible specifically tells people to go out and search for knowledge, and it is said to be something that is more valuable than gold (Proverbs 8:10). Historically too, people who have read the most have always been the people who were the most knowledgable.
All this being said, one noteworthy fact is that the Bible is itself given to us in the form of a book, and not a podcast or a movie. So if the greatest source of knowledge available in this world is itself supposed to be read as a book, then we can surely say that reading books is a great medium to learn.
Until next time!