Looking for the advantages and disadvantages of reading books?
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Billionaires and entrepreneurs read a lot of books each year.
Your teachers and parents advise you to read more books.
Even governments dedicate a considerable portion of their budget to the education sector.
The question is:
Should you read more books?
Is reading books even healthy?
I’m an avid reader. And last year alone, I read more than 90+ books (still counting).
So far I have read more than 150 books on diverse topics and summarized more than 100 out of them.
What I’ve realized is:
This habit of reading has both pros and cons.
And in this article, I’m going to discuss all the advantages and disadvantages of reading books.
In fact, the benefits of reading overpower the cons of reading so much so that I even published a guide on how to make a reading habit.
But just because I love reading books, I’m not going to hold back and only show you why reading books is the only solution.
I’ll also talk about the subtle problems that occur when you read so much.
Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s get started!
Advantages Of Reading Books
If you have ever wondered why reading is important, read all the following advantages carefully.
I’m sure your perspective about reading books will change.
These are the advantages or benefits of reading books:
1. Improve Focus And Concentration
Reading books require attention.
When you read books with consistency, your muscles of concentration grow. That’s how reading books improve your focus and concentration.
Bill Gates reads 50 books per year. And just look at his concentration.
To achieve your goals, you need laser-sharp focus.
The truth is, it’s incredibly hard to focus and concentrate on a goal for months or even years.
So start reading books. Gradually, your focus and concentration power will improve.
2. Improve Vocabulary
To put your ideas into the right words or express yourself exactly the way you want to, you need a large enough vocabulary.
Especially in countries where English isn’t the native language, people face difficulties speaking English.
More often than not, they struggle to find relevant words while framing sentences during a conversation. This happens because they don’t have enough words in their active vocabulary.
Reading books exposes an individual to a bajillion of new words…
Using which one could improve his vocabulary set and thus bring variety to his sentences while expressing himself through speaking or writing.
3. Improve Creativity
Creativity is nothing but a combination of different ideas.
And books are all about ideas.
The best part: books contain ideas that originate from experienced people.
When you develop a habit of reading books, you work on your idea-generation muscle too.
That means your creative muscle becomes more robust.
There is a reason that all writers are avid readers, and most readers (if not all) start writing eventually.
Also, exposure to different opinions, thoughts, and perspectives allows you to reach multiple conclusions.
4. Provide Inspiration
Are you feeling down in your life?
Do you feel that your life is being wasted at your job?
Are you procrastinating on important things?
Well, look no further; start reading self-improvement books.
Books are one of the most significant sources of inspiration.
How? You could read the biography of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc., and get an idea of their mindset and thought processes.
Books provide you with long-term inspiration, unlike motivational videos you watch on YouTube.
Here are some of my motivational book summaries:
- Be Obsessed Or Be Average [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- Talent Is Never Enough [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
5. Provide Perspective
I remember reading:
- The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- Rich Dad Poor Dad [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
These books changed my life by changing my perspective on it.
One of the easiest ways to have an epiphany or eye-opener moment is to read a book that has changed the lives of millions of people.
Of course, there are shitty books out there.
But some books are no less than gold.
For example, Napoleon Hill did years of research to write Think and Grow Rich.
Tim Ferris interviewed nearly two hundred world-class performers for his podcast and then combined his learnings into a single book, Tools Of Titans.
Books change your paradigm and allow you to see reality from different angles and thus reach your own conclusion.
6. Help You Make Friends
Humans love to build communities. Reading books might make you new friends who share the same interests as you.
You won’t believe how many people love reading books on the planet earth – interests might differ, though.
You could also read How To Win Friends And Influence People or other such books to master communication skills.
7. Fun To Read
What makes books addictive is that they’re fun to read. How wonderful is it to learn great insights from successful people by turning a few pages?
Sometimes they tell you stories that entertain you. While at other times, they teach you lessons.
Reading is an entirely different experience:
From the outside, it looks like you’re just sitting and reading words and sentences.
But readers know from the inside that they’re having fun, which is no less than the pleasure you get while doing a party.
Reading isn’t boring. It just looks boring.
Okay, I agree. Some books are boring…
But most of the time, they’re fun to read.
Here are some of my best book summaries that you will enjoy reading:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- The Voice Of Knowledge by Miguel Ruiz [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
8. Help You Improve Your Professional Life
Tell me any skill, and I can tell you a book that talks about it!
What makes successful people different is that they know things that an average person doesn’t.
So if you’re looking to improve your professional life, find books that teach you to be successful at your work.
Because books contain researched and valuable information that might help you.
It’s important to understand that not all books would be helpful to you. But does it really matter?
You only need one idea to change your life.
The possibilities are endless.
If you are interested in learning about business, check out the following book summaries:
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- The 360 Degree Leader [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
9. Help You Build Discipline
I couldn’t stress enough how important discipline is in life. And most non-fiction books like Chop Wood Carry Water say the same thing.
According to The Power Of Habit, certain habits spill into other areas of our life.
For instance, your habit of reading books every day might help you go to the gym without fail or procrastination.
That’s because habits are patterns in our brains. In other words, habits are also our muscles which you could train and use in different aspects of life.
10. Improve Your Writing Skill
Reading helps a lot in writing.
The idea here is simple:
Both reading and writing is simply an act of interacting with words. The more you read, the more words you consume.
Ultimately, that reflects in your writing.
Check this out to make your writing persuasive: Book Summary: The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
11. Make You Rich
(The word ‘rich’ is subjective here.)
Wealthy and successful people read many books and suggest to others the same.
Books give you knowledge. And one can’t become rich if he doesn’t have knowledge about money.
If I hadn’t read those books, I wouldn’t have realized how asset building can help me become affluent over time.
The thing is:
You won’t become rich just by reading finance books. You’ll have to work for it.
People like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates invest in themselves by reading books.
So if you want to become great like them, read quality books and improve your mindset.
Here are some of the best books on personal finance that will help you build wealth and manage it efficiently.
12. Teach You About Personal Growth
There is an entire genre of personal development in books. (If it didn’t, this blog might not even exist.)
You can read various types of books under this genre:
- Personal Finance
- Business …
Notice the word “teach” here. This means that books will only teach you. To get results, you’ll have to work for it.
13. Improve Productivity
Time is of value. It is the only thing you won’t be able to get back. Once it’s gone – it’s gone.
Many books will teach you how to use your time efficiently.
For example, The One Thing by Gary Keller taught me why I should focus on only one thing at a time and stop multitasking to avoid context switching.
By reading books and applying the lesson in your daily life, you can become more productive.
14. Develop Your Personality
When you exude strong character with confidence, your personality shines. By reading books based on psychology, you understand what goes on in people’s minds and why they do what they do.
Also, books build your character by conditioning it with high-quality ideas.
And those beliefs, ultimately, turn into your action.
Intelligent people judge you by your actions, not by what you say. When you take the right action, it shows your personality.
15. Make You Calm And Peaceful
When you become wiser than your peers, you start to save your energy and use it to do meaningful things.
Wisdom allows you to see through bullshit.
Ultimately, you become more calm and peaceful.
Often people get agitated when they fail to handle their problems in life. Books supply you with enough knowledge to become capable of dealing with any circumstance.
There are a lot of books that teach you about Stoicism and other such philosophies.
Books like The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari even show you techniques that monks use to stay calm and focused on their goals.
16. Improve Your Imagination
Fiction books are best suited for that. Every story takes you on an adventure.
The authors like JK Rowling can make you feel the character and make it look as if they are alive and right in front of you.
By reading storybooks, you can improve your imagination.
Imagination gives you the power to create.
If you want to learn how you can leverage the incredible power of imagination, I highly recommend that you check out these book summaries:
- The Power Of Intention [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- The Alter Ego Effect [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
17. Turn You Into An Idea-Machine
Every time you read a book, your brain muscles get a workout.
And with each workout session (book reading session), those muscles become more potent.
Result? Gradually, you start turning into an idea machine.
What does idea-machine mean? It’s simply your brain becoming able to produce many quality ideas in a day.
There is a difference between random thoughts and ideas.
Most people generate random thoughts which are suitable for nothing. But a few people can generate high-quality ideas throughout their day (e.g., entrepreneurs) that move the world.
Want to learn how to generate billion-dollar ideas? Check out the following resources:
- Steal Like An Artist [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- Where Good Ideas Come From [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
18. help you remember and learn better
There is a reason why the world’s most complex topics like religion and spirituality are often discussed in books.
Just think about it:
What’s easier: watching a course or reading a book?
Most people are lazy these days. So they prefer watching a course over reading a book.
But there is a limitation to consuming videos.
You can’t stay with an idea for long. You will have to match your speed with the video.
Sure, you can turn the playback speed to 2x. But still, you can only spend so much time pondering over an idea.
Books function as a gym for our minds.
When you read, you put in the extra effort. If the idea being read is complex, you can spend as much time as you want until you fully comprehend it.
I have noticed that the ideas read in a book stick longer in my mind.
Or it may be possible that I’m an avid reader, and that’s the reason it happens with me.
Anyways, you are always free to choose whether you want to read a book or watch a video.
Extra Tip: We live in the age of videos… So if you want to watch animated summaries of some of the best non-fiction books, consider subscribing to my Youtube Channel.
19. Books allow you to pass on your legacy
Let’s face the truth:
We will all die someday.
(Related: Die With Zero Book Summary)
So when you write and publish a book, it lives on for years.
Genius people who are no longer with us have passed their wisdom through books to future generations.
And we should be grateful to them, shouldn’t we?
Growth would slow down if we didn’t have access to ancient discoveries.
Books are one of the best ways to document ideas.
Sure these days, we have the Internet.
But think about the time when we didn’t have such a thing.
We didn’t have this technology to freely share information with the world with the click of just a few buttons.
Even today, if you write a great book and publish it, people will read it in the future.
That’s the fantastic side of being an author. You can pass on your learnings from your experience.
You might say, “But what does all this have to do with reading books. How will it benefit me?”
The answer is:
When you read books, especially books packed with wisdom, you realize the privilege you have if you can read books.
And only after that, you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.
It’s hard to put in words…
But overall, reading books will make your life better.
Disadvantages Of Reading Books
Reading books has its downsides too. (In life, most things come at a price.)
Now, I’ll discuss all the disadvantages of reading books. I’ve personally faced most of them. That means I’m not making them out of thin air.
Anyway, let’s get started.
1. Consume Time
Oh man, I wish I could fix this.
I fail to read more than four books a month, no matter how hard I try. Reason? One needs time to read books.
Well, you can also listen to audiobooks, but that’s a different approach. Let’s stick to the context of this article.
Why does it take so much time to read books?
It’s a no-brainer. Most books have more than 150 pages. Being humans, there is a limit to how fast we can read.
Read too fast, and you might miss important details in the book. Read too slow, and it’ll take forever to finish that book. So most people read at a speed that suits them.
To those who say they can finish a book in an hour, I’ll say, “Seriously? Are you sure that you aren’t missing fine details?”
Still, you can’t deny that books consume a lot of time.
But in the end, reading books isn’t about how fast you can read. It’s about how effectively you read and how much you actually apply in your life.
2. Require Will Power
It isn’t really a downside of reading books. It’s a prerequisite.
Book reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Some people can’t read more than one page.
For some people, reading is one of the most boring activities in the world.
Yes, reading books could be painful if you’re not used to reading lots of books.
3. Burn Money Fast
If you look at Amazon, the paperback version of books is usually expensive for most readers, considering I’m an Indian.
Heck, e-books and audiobooks are even more costly.
I won’t say buying books is an utter wastage of your precious money.
The reality is that some books are over-hyped. They have no substance in them, and they waste money if bought.
If you’re buying books for putting a show in front of your friends, I’d suggest that you better not purchase them.
That way, you’ll only end up wasting your money.
Note: You can read the book summaries and reviews of 100 plus books before buying them.
Just search the book’s name in the search box, and if I’ve written a summary for it, it’ll show up in the results.
4. Eat Up Storage
It barely consumes any space when it comes to storing books on your hard drive.
That’s because those books are usually in Epub, Pdf, or Mobi format. In other words, a pdf version of a book, in my opinion, will only consume less than 20MB (maximum).
But when it comes to physical books, as the number of books increases, the burden of organizing and storing them on a shelf also increases.
Some people even love to collect books while others sell them.
But you can’t hide from the truth that storing physical books and organizing them could be a pain in the behind.
Note: This is why people prefer the audiobook or the eBook format these days.
5. People Call You A Nerd
This might sound stupid and isn’t a big deal. But yes, it affects too.
When people see that you read way too much, they start calling you a nerd in their minds.
“What’s the point of reading that much? What a nerd!”
Depending on the type of friends you have, some might go overboard and make you a thing of gossip. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often.
6. Weaken Your Eyesight
A lot of reading might put glasses on your nose.
When we read books, we fix our eyes on the letters close to us.
Doing it for a long time sometimes causes short-sightedness.
When you become short-sighted, you risk losing the ability to see far objects clearly.
7. Cause Infocrastination
Infocrastination is the sum of Information and Procrastination.
Infocrastination = Information + Procrastination
This happens while reading self-help books. Some people find escape through such types of books.
How many people do you think have become rich after reading “Think And Grow Rich”?
How many people do you think start a startup after reading “Zero To One”?
Very few, right?
So what happens with most people? They keep procrastinating.
Because big goals require big actions.
Either way, it’s up to you what you do after buying a book.
8. Make You Unhealthy
Often people read books by sitting on a chair. This sedentary lifestyle creates many problems like Diabetes or Obesity.
One solution might be to take breaks every half an hour while reading and take a walk for 2 minutes along with some stretching.
9. Cause Confusion Sometimes Due To Contradicting Opinions
Sometimes two books might have contradicting ideas, which can f*ck with your mind.
Now, what should you do? Should you ‘think big’ or ‘think small’?
Here is another example:
If you go according to the philosophy of Steve Jobs, you should follow your passion.
But Cal Newport, in his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, argues that ‘follow your passion’ is the worst advice.
Now, what should you do?
Should you follow your passion or not?
Here is one more:
All the self-help books like Awaken The Giant Within talk about positive self-help.
But on the other hand, Mark Manson talks about negative self-help in his book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck.
Books are often full of contradicting ideas.
This isn’t an issue for those who barely read a book every year.
But to those like me, who read at least one book every week, this issue could be baffling.
10. Make You A Dopamine Junkie
Sometimes you might have an “Aha” moment while reading a book.
That “Aha” moment is simply the result of a dopamine rush in your head.
Often people get addicted to this high.
It’s a rare case.
But I believe it’s possible.
Often people pick a book to find an escape from their dull life filled with problems.
Reading books and always craving an epiphany might make you a dopamine junkie.
11. Some books are part of propaganda
So this is the darkest side of reading books.
I won’t take the name of any book here.
But some books are made for the sole purpose of brainwashing young minds.
There are marketing books whose only goal is to sell you an expensive course in the end.
Also, some religious books ask you to believe in mythical ideas and submit to authority blindly.
There are good ones too…
You don’t have to believe in this, though. This is my personal opinion.
But since I read a lot of books, I have become wise enough to decide which book to read and which to avoid.
Remember that not all books lead you to the truth.
The books that help you make your life better, bring you to reality, and help you deal with the hardships of life are the most practical ones.
And I recommend that you read more of such books.
Don’t buy all the mythical and fantasy ideas that some books share.
Stick to the LOGIC.
Reject all that is not TRUE.
Always do a “background check” of the author or publication before buying any book.
Be skeptical before you accept any idea.
I highly recommend that you check out these book summaries if you are a truth-seeker:
- The Voice Of Knowledge by Miguel Ruiz [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
- Freedom From The Known by J Krishnamurti [ Read Summary | Check price on Amazon ]
List of All the books Mentioned In This Article
I’ve prepared a list of all the great books that I have mentioned throughout this article so that you don’t waste time searching for them.
Last update on 2022-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon
From the points discussed above, you can conclude that reading books have pros and cons. Its pros outweigh its cons, though.
If you take care of its cons, nobody can stop you from achieving big goals.
Reading is a superpower. (And “with great power, comes great responsibility.”)
If you want to develop a reading habit, try Blinkist for days absolutely FREE.
What is Blinkist? It’s a non-fiction book summary app with lots of amazing insights and author podcasts.
Now You Tell Me
Did you like this article on the advantages and disadvantages of reading books?
Did I miss any point?
Or do you have any point to add to this?
Do you face infocrastination too?
What struggles do you face while reading a book?
Tell me in the comment section below. And most important – keep reading.
Feel free to share this article with others. Thanks in advance!