What do you think of when you hear the word, reading?
Some of you might answer ‘books’, but there are actually many alternatives to reading books that you’ll learn about in this post.
The truth is, not everyone likes reading. I know this, and that’s why I’ve decided to write a post about 4 alternatives to reading books. By combining reading along with listening you can put yourself at an intellectual advantage. Just reading books is not enough.
4 Alternatives to Reading Books
Number 1 Choice for Alternatives to Reading Books is Blogs
I personally am a huge fan of reading blogs (obviously I write one) and I think you should be too. Why should blogs be one of the alternatives to reading books?
- When blog posts are written the information is usually very up-to-date whereas books take months to years to publish. Therefore by the time the book is published things might have already changed especially in the tech field and many others. It depends on the topic of the book.
Note: Books take so long to publish because they are edited so many times and have to go through the publishing process, but that does not make them any less valuable. In fact, the fact that books have gone through the rigorous vetting of editors makes the content of books that much more valuable. Almost all information in books is reliable whereas, depending on the blog, blogs can have some sketchy facts you might have to check unless it comes from a big name like HubSpot for example.
- Blogs are usually updated daily or at least weekly. You’ll never run out of things to read.
- The bloggers will usually include links like this one to other helpful sites either on their own site or someone else’s. When you’re holding a physical book you can’t just click on a link although it’s drastically changing with the Kindle now where you can easily follow up on a link.
- You can actually interact with the bloggers through comments, email, or social media. Therefore blogs often have a very personalized touch to them. With books, you rarely have the opportunity to interact with the author. It’s possible but not as likely as with a blogger.
- Talking about personalized, usually, the writing style of blogs are very personalized. You often get to see the quirky side of the bloggers and feel like you’re starting to get to know them personally even though you’ve probably never met them in person.
Overall the huge benefit of reading blogs is you get a different and unfiltered opinion about a particular topic. Blogs are one of the best sources for trustable and personalized information that will surely put you ahead of the intellectual game.
Here are a few suggestions if you don’t know which blog to start reading. Last month I compiled a list of 8 Content Writer’s Blogs You Must Subscribe to Now! and my other suggestion is my friend Anthony Perez who has an amazing business and self-help book summary website with huge exciting plans for the near future called book-success.com. Both are a must for you to read!
Number 2 Choice for Alternatives to Reading Books is Podcasts
I’ll just tell you honestly, I’ve never been that big on listening to audiobooks, podcasts, or YouTube to study about a particular topic, however, I’ve recently been encouraging myself to start listening to all of these different audio and video outlets and that’s why I’ve included them in my top 4 alternatives to reading books. Podcasts and YouTube are a whole entirely different animal that I have grown to appreciate and you should too.
Here are some of the benefits of listening to podcasts.
- Podcasts are easy to subscribe to with several different episodes you can follow up listening to.
- You can listen to podcasts while driving or commuting. How many minutes or hours do you think you spend driving or commuting per day?
Taking myself for example, I spend a total of two and a half hours driving to and from work per week not counting the random trip to the store or mall. That’s 30 minutes per day I personally use to listen to podcasts or Youtube, and when I say YouTube I don’t mean ‘The Top 50 Charts’. I listen to the best quality content I can find that will help me to further my business in the future. So, think about how much you can actually learn while you’re driving or commuting from place to place.
I’ve noticed a huge difference in my ability to retain knowledge since listening to podcasts, it has stretched my mind out of my usual comfort zone of reading books.
- Listening to Podcasts is free. If you’ve got an iPhone, you’ve got a free podcast app built-in. There are several different apps for Android as well such as this post by Android Authority about the 10 Best Podcast Apps For Android. Or if you don’t want to download an extra app on your phone you could always search for podcasts on YouTube such as my friend Ben Laing on his podcast called Ben’s Business Podcast where he speaks mostly about business and interviews people who’ve worked with Elon Musk among several other interesting people.
- You can find a podcast about pretty much anything.
- By listening to a variety of useful topics you can expand your mind by hearing it from a different perspective.
I personally am an advocate for gaining knowledge, and it doesn’t always have to be through reading. I found an interesting statistic remember reading in the book Second Chance (my first business book ever! I mention it in my ‘About Me’) where you learn about ‘The Cone of Learning’. Are any of you familiar with this cone?
Of course, there is a reason why I bring this up to you to prove the point that gaining knowledge by as many means as you possibly can, will give you an edge over people who only do one or the other.
The cone you see above is really only a guide though. It’s very generalized and in my personal opinion a bit false. Every single one of you learns in a different way. But there’s no way you only remember 10% of what you read and 20% of what you see and listen to. That’s bullshit really. Here’s why.
No doubt, by actually taking action you’ll learn more than just by reading or listening. But my question to you is how do you learn about the things you do initially before you actually do them?
You learn from reading and listening. That doesn’t put any less importance on taking action. Taking action is the most important step in the process to success because without action there IS no success.
The truth is, reading and listening are at the core of how you learn and how you eventually take action. Learning by reading or listening to quality content is the first major step in the right direction.
Now when you see that the graph above says you only remember 10% of what you read and 20% of what you hear, don’t you think it’s total bullshit? What you read, listen to, or watch sticks with you as long as you have a connection to the subject.
In order to put yourself over the competition, you need to take this podcast option to the alternatives to reading books as a major tool and make it a habit every day to listen to something. Talking about habits, my friend Craig Alexander Herd has the most amazing podcast I’d love to share with you called Habit Hackers Rebel Radio. Rockin’ name right? It’s definitely packed with engaging content you won’t get bored of.
Number 3 Choice for Alternatives to Reading Books is YouTube
Okay, it’s true, YouTube has a lot of crap on it but there’s also a ton of valuable videos if you know exactly what to search for. Searching for videos is one of the simplest things to do on YouTube but sometimes hard to find just the right channel to subscribe to. Once you find the right channels you can listen or watch as much as you like for free.
- There’s a wide variety of different content from many different sources.
- It’s visual and auditory. I often use YouTube while driving just because it is the most convenient way for me to search for the right content and I can make the most of my driving time learning something rather than just listening to music.
- Recommended videos are catered from your watch history.
- It’s extremely easy to engage with the creators of videos through the comment section.
- Overall, YouTube is one of the most user-friendly platforms out there. Although some of the content is hit and miss there’s no doubt you’ll find something useful.
- Big names such as Neil Patel, Tai Lopez or Bill Gates have very informative channels.
I cannot really emphasize how helpful YouTube has been an alternative to reading books in my own journey through developing myself.
The Last Choice for Alternatives to Reading Books is TED Talks
If you’ve never heard of TED Talks then I’m not sure which planet you’ve been living on unless you were on the spaceship created by Elon Musk flying to Mars. Elon Musk is one of the many entrepreneurial idols who has spoken at a TED event. Listen to his talk where he talks about his plans for our future.
Some of the others who have spoken are Simon Sinek, and Tony Robbins. The speakers that get chosen to speak at TED conferences are the elite people in their field. Some people you may have never heard of before but their stories are often touching and inspiring.
I cannot say enough good things about TED Talks. Here are some benefits.
- It’s free to watch on YouTube or ted.com and is packed with hundreds of thousands of useful videos which are usually no more than 20 minutes.
- The speakers are from around the globe so you’ll be able to get a different perspective on a particular topic you may have never thought of before.
- If you’ve got a story to tell, you send your audition in and it’s accepted by the host of your local or international TED conference then you can speak at it.
- The topics are unimaginable! Just a few simple examples of the random topics, one person might talk about a new way to use nuclear energy safely while the next person might talk about how to groom a dog or even how to tie your shoes! The videos range from very complex to extremely simple.
- It helps you to learn the best public speaking skills. (My portfolio)
You definitely have to listen to at least a few TED Talks regularly. The TED website also has short books, blogs, and newsletters. And if you want to be even more adventurous, you can get involved through TED Fellows with many more opportunities you’ll have to check out on their website.
Wrapping it up
I really hope this list of 4 alternatives to reading books has helped you to open your mind a bit more to the other options available for expanding your mind. I know not all of you like to read so this is your chance in your own way to improve yourself.
Let me know if I missed an alternative down below and don’t forget to help your family and friends by sharing this blog post with them.
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