Zain K.

Is it (still) worth reading books when everything is just a google away?

August 21, 2021

We are exposed to more information in a day than someone who lived in the 1400s in his entire life. Let that sink in.

We are living in an age of information. In an age, where information has started taking a toll on us.

Everything is just a quick google search away. Want to know which water pump to purchase based on piping lengths? Simple google it out and calculate the HP required. Want to know how to apply trends to predict the next Bitcoin peak? Google it or watch a few youtube videos.

Googling stuff seems efficient and it is. You get precisely the information you are looking for without having to go through tons and tons of pages from a book.

You can get information, often in a more user-friendly manner, via videos that are interesting to watch. You can consume novels in audiobook format while commuting instead of sitting alone on weekends in the corner.

With audiobooks becoming popular, online video courses becoming the new trend, and ubiquitous online access to information for solving everyday problems, we are faced with the question- are books finally becoming redundant?

I don’t think so. The ROI of reading books is insane!

You can read faster than you can listen to audiobooks

An average person can listen to around 150-160 words per minute (wpm). On the other hand, an average person can read at 250-300 wpm. This means that you can consume twice the information when reading as compared to listening to an audiobook in the same amount of time.

You can download decades of knowledge in days

Good books are written by people with decades of experience. They have condensed their learnings over a lifetime into a few hundred pages. And you have the opportunity of acquiring it in a matter of days. Why would you not want to grab this opportunity?

Information is presented in an organized manner

Non-fiction books contain knowledge that is generally better organized and more comprehensive than you can find on youtube or other websites. Lets say you become curious one day and want to find out what the stock market is and how to invest in it.

Using youtube would be pain. You would not only need to find good videos related to each of the relevant areas but you would also need to know what to search for in the first place. It doesn’t provide progressive learning in a building block style. On the other hand, if you can grab a good book on this topic, then it makes the task much simpler, and you can be confident that it would be comprehensive too.

Books are a writer’s legacy therefore written with more effort

An author writes just a few books in his life. They are his legacy. And for something that will serve as a legacy, it can be said with reasonable confidence that it will be written with utmost care and effort. Compare this with online courses or youtube videos which often can be put together within a week. I am not belittling them but I am just saying that if you are spending your time learning something, then do so with something that benefits you the most.

Reading exposes you to novel ideas

The ancient saying ‘readers are leaders’ has a lot of wisdom behind it. Reading exposes you to novel concepts and ideas which can then be combined, often subconsciously, to bring about innovation.

You can read about how an enzyme can convert cow-dung into manure and then come across a cheaper way of building walls- then combine these two together to come up with an innovative low-cost toilet design for rural areas which gives manure as the final product! This is something that I personally did and won a national-level competition.

You obtain information that you didn’t know you needed in the first place

We have very little idea of what we do not know. And we can only actively search for the new information which we know we need to acquire. But what about the infinitely vast amount of knowledge and information that we don’t know even exists? That is where books play a big part. They provide a deeper dive into a subject and expand your horizons more than you can expect to do so while conducting your own research on the internet.

Reading is the best workout for your mind

Reading keeps you sharp. It helps to increase memory retention capability and heighten overall brain functioning. It has been shown in research done by the University of California that it can lower the levels of beta-amyloid, a brain protein involved in Alzheimer’s, by keeping the mind cognitively stimulated.

Books are still the no.1 means of obtaining detailed knowledge into a subject and they aren’t getting replaced any time soon. If you avoid reading books because you think it takes a lot of time to do so, I would recommend you check out these simple tips to 3X your reading speed in a matter of days.

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