Full disclosure – I’ve written a book that I kind of hope you’ll buy. Nevertheless, the push toward consuming video (supposedly 75% of internet content will be in video format by 2020) is a disastrous one for you and your mental state.
I should also disclose that I own several thousand actual old school, codex format paper books (just like you see in old movies) and love the look and feel of them, and even their smell. I read out loud to my wife every night, and time stands still for me when I’m buried in a really long book and interacting with giants of the past, now long dead. But my belief in books isn’t about emotions.
Three reasons why books are better than video
- Books are meant to be read for a bit, put down while you get an apple and think about what you just read, picked up again, re-read and so on. You have to think about, and interact with the material. Video is a sermon that is meant to be digested and swallowed whole by the gullible without much time to think critically, reflect on, or process.
- Video is usually disjointed pieces of mental flotsam floating through cyberspace. This format feeds and exacerbates your monkey mind; that part of your brain that chatters and swings from idea to idea with no pattern or discipline. A book on the other hand, is a format that focuses your mind on a single topic for a reasonable amount of time.
- Video is processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text says Psychology Today. It’s easier to interact with, bypasses your cognitive mind and drives straight to your emotions, and both favors and encourages lazy thinking. Reading on the other hand is interactive. You have to form mental pictures and focus on translating shapes on a page into ideas in your mind. The medium makes you a stronger, more disciplined thinker regardless of the content.
If you’ve been alive for a while, you know that winning is about getting focused and losing is about being scattered.
So, feed the better part of yourself. Put your phone down and read an entire book. Highlight it. Write in the margins (I use sticky flags). Absorb its contents and apply them to your life. Do you think you still can?
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero.”
-Charlie Munger, billionaire partner to Warren Buffet