Books were primary source of information, knowledge and entertainment before the internet and media devices took the world to storm. Today we have videos, images, podcasts, articles, blogs you name it as other sources of information. Internet has changed the world for good mostly, and the media based information revolution has benefited all of us with all sorts of knowledge and wisdom readily available in our finger tips. However, there are cons too and a major one is the shallow knowledge gained reading too many different view points at once browsing lots of content and even reading wrong articles with mis-information many times. When authors of books and content in the past included experts in a topic, today anybody can throw a guide on any topic and many of us easily trust the content without checking the qualification or reliability of the source of information. Let us not talk about social media role in this, as it is a huge debate on its own.
I personally fell that reading a book is still the best way to gather in-depth information on a topic or bring some effective changes to your life or for personal development. A focused reading gives you time to pause and grasp the content based on your pace and lets your brain process the information and learn from it. Multimedia has hidden distraction and the interaction exercises a large part of your brain performing visual processing that you don't use your full energy into absorbing the informative content, which should be the ultimate focus.
I understand the preference differences if you have a disability, so no offence please if this topic does not fit you.
Let us take a look at different types of books.
1) Personal Development Books:
I take personal development books seriously and believe that some of them really changed my life. After I recommended same books that changed my life to a few friends I realised how the book influenced each of us differently. The differences pointed directly to how we all consumed the book. I had read each of the books I recommended using a physical copy or using my Ipad for latest ones, but following a few steps. I took notes of each of the authors points, introspecting and noting down which bits am I good at, which bits do I suck at and short listing action points for me to improve myself. I read the book without any other distraction and paused well enough not just jumping between pages but spending time with me while I was reading. Many others just browsed through the books ,agreed or disagreed with the content but forgot to think through the words of enlightenment and engage themselves.
If you are curious of top ten books that changed my life, stay in touch. I will post them shortly.
2) Academic books:
An academic topic is usually written comprehensively in a book by subject matter experts compared to any youtube tutorial you can watch on the same. Take help from online resources for understanding the concept being covered, but I would recommend starting with a book if you want to specialise in a topic. Ofcourse an effective online option is taking a full online course which normally is a costly affair.You can use many sites like Udemy, Udacity, Coursera etc for that.
Reading a story can take you through your own imaginations and boost your creative brain than watching a movie of the same story. If you watch a movie based on a novel, the plot is already framed with characters. Say you pick an audio book instead, it is still not as effective as a book it just runs not letting you pause as much as you would do when you read. An example is how the "Harry Potter" fans unanimously claim how the book series is way better than the movie series, as the books allowed them to imagine the broad content in their own world and minds. I have heard similar arguments about the TV series "Game of Thrones".
Next time when you want to learn a topic well, consider reading a book without any distraction and see how effective it was compared to browsing millions of resources online to start with. Of course it depends on the context and how time do yo have at hand, but I would suggest to try it at least for a topic you want to understand well or ace your personal or professional development matters. I honestly believe that you will see a difference as I did.
We all can agree or disagree on this, feel free to let me know your thoughts on this in comments. I would like to know what works for you and what not as well. Or is it just me? ;)