Here we are, Part Deux (that’s French for “two”). I hope I didn’t burn your golden podcast cows in Part I. Well, at least I hope it didn’t throw up too much smoke. Still telling yourself the following story?
“Sure, reading a book sounds great. Who am I kidding, though? Podcasts are good enough. And reading is boring. Plus I have to, like, buy books.”
Or maybe your mirror talk goes like this,
“Meh, who cares. I like the interwebz more.”
In which case…touché. But I am hoping that you’re not that naive. I know I was. Actually, I think the word ignorant fits. I knew, deep down inside that reading gigantic piles of books was a sure-fire ways to flex my mental muscle. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. I wanted to convince myself that Youtube could teach me valuable lessons. I wanted to feel like sleeping in was OK. My little “feelies” (as Louis CK calls them) didn’t enjoy the uncomfortable thought of requiring the discipline to read a book. Let’s be honest. You’ve felt that way too. You know that reading a book is good for you, but you’ll probably learn just as much by following Dr Nutcracker’s Blog or watching that video that your friend posted, shining endorsement and all.
Still not convinced, eh? Well then, let me point out that
4. Books are usually reviewed for quality in some way.
Now now, Mr Antithesis. I know you’re going to tell me that the 21st Century brought a wave of self-publishing. And that would be true…if it mattered at all. I am sure there are some great quality self-published books out there, but if a publisher is discerning enough to slash a book from their roster, I am too.
You see, publishers have these pesky little things called “standards”, whereby they assess quality, readability, likability and other such things. Obviously, the upper echelon of this process is the Peer-Review Process, whereby scientific standards are supposedly upheld. But I don’t expect your only learning to come from Peer-Reviewed Journals only. That would be silly.
The last time I listened to a PodCast, the topic was Brain-Science. Is it peer-reviewed? Not as far as I know. Is it useful? Fairly. I would generally consider this a Podcast for intellectual types. However, it STILL does not give me a complete view of any one topic. The amount of information you could learn about the brain is endless. To me, the brain is the last frontier. So what did I do? I ditched the Podcast and got myself a good beginner book on Pain, part of brain science. I’ll review it for you when I am done.
The moral of the story is this: if you really care about the information you will be filling your brain with, you need filters. Videos have very little (except the ones you pay for). Podcasts have very little. Let someone else put your learning through a few filters before you invest your time in some fresh learning.
5. Books take commitment on your behalf.
This is going to seem like I am calling you out. Because I am. Do you have the discipline to read? Do you? Quite frankly, I don’t think most of you do. It doesn’t take courage. It doesn’t take desire. It just takes discipline. Most people scare away from long-term commitments, especially voluntary ones that don’t pay cash. Those who do commit reap the rewards of having a disciplined and committed lifestyle. I could write a book (ha) on the joys of discipline alone.
This point may make you NOT want to read a book. The word commitment. The word discipline. They probably render you un-enthused. If that’s the case, put on your man pants already. You’re the one who needed this blog post. You’re the one I am calling out. You should be looking for long-term commitments. You need them. And so does everyone else around you.
6. You can be proud of books.
Culturally speaking, there are many benefits to books. This is me bragging: I have large containers and boxes full of books that I don’t have enough bookshelves for. I read all of them (or my wife did). Quite frankly, that makes me feel good about myself. When people walk into my home office, half of them see the bookshelf and ask, “Have you read all of those?”. It makes me feel good to know that the answer is yes.
When you tell someone that you listened to “Troy and Abed in the Morning” and found out that stretching makes you flexible, you sound like a tool. A tool of little utility, at that. When you tell someone that you read Einstein’s biography and then proceed describe why his thought experiments about general relativity were pure genius, you sound like you’ve levelled up. Just make sure you’ve actually read Einstein’s biography (which, I will warn you, is 700+ pages. It’s a marathon worth running, though). Also, you might want to make sure the person you are covering with actually gives a rodent-patooty about relativity theory.
This one is a little more personal. I prefer respect over admiration. I’ll take either, but I prefer respect. When I visit someone’s home for the first time and I see a gigantic DVD tower and an even huger flatscreen, I get a hint of admiration. But I don’t respect it. On the contrary, when I venture into a new household and find that they, too, have more books than shelves, it is instant respect from this guy. It is an insight into a value set. I respect people who have the foresight to learn and/or commit. Deep down inside, I bet you do too.
Finally, I leave you with an optimistically opinionated poem of sorts.
Why? Just so I can show my artistic side.
Books are like food, podcasts are like supplements.
Books are like mountaintop air, Youtube is like recycled mall oxygen.
Books are like fine wine, a bro’s opinion is like a shot of cheap hard liquor.
Books are like crystalline mountain lakes, blogs are like lukewarm birdbaths.
Books are like off-season training, TV documentaries are like “biceps day”.
Books are the sundaes, the big guys at the gym are like that weird pineapple sauce on sundaes.
Books are like old oak trees, Facebook posts are like bamboo toothpicks.
Books are like roadmaps, online interviews are like highway billboards.
Books are like decades of heavy barbell lifting, Tweets are like a couple weeks of Zumba.
Books are like igloos, news feeds are like yellow snow.
And I’m out. Until next time, I bid you a good day, sirs or madams. Go read a book.