In a rapidly changing world, the methods we use to access and absorb information are evolving at an astonishing pace. As we step into 2023, it has become increasingly evident that the traditional practice of recommending books as the primary source of knowledge is undergoing a profound transformation. In this blog post, I will dive into the reasons behind this shift, why you should stop reading books in 2024, and why, as we navigate the information age, I find myself no longer recommending books in 2023. The Decline of the Printed Word
The digital age has ushered in a remarkable transformation in how we acquire and consume information. Books, while still valuable, are facing new challenges and competition. We no longer live in an era where you can get a competitive edge by going to the library and reading a few noteworthy books. You need to be competitive. And all of your competition knows all of these basics just like you do. They all know how important information is. They all know about compounding interest when it comes to their finances. They all know that a business is a great way to make money. They all know they should invest in gold, metals, real estate, and the same stuff that literally every finace guru and money book with the word “millionaire” or “rich” has already spewed. They know these now commonly shared “Secrets”. And since they all know it, you need more in order to come out ahead or stay ahead. In 2024 and beyond, while the right book can still have utility, the idea of sitting down and simply reading will hurt you more than it will help you. Here's why: Real-Time Information
One of the most significant drawbacks of books is the time lag between the creation of content and its availability to readers. In contrast, the internet offers real-time access to news, research findings, and updates. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 62% of adults in the United States get news from social media, highlighting the demand for up-to-the-minute information. As I’ve already mentioned, the world moves faster than ever. A few decades ago, you could learn about marketing in college and after 4 years apply it to the workforce. It was a significant advantage. And it held a lot of value. Several years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who was helping me take photos for my personal brand. He was a marketing major at George Mason University. When he told me about the things his core classes were teaching him, I was stunned. He was learning about how to use Snapchat and Facebook to drive traffic to a blog. His books were suggesting that blogs were a new, cutting-edge method of driving revenue for a business. Meanwhile, I explained to him that blogs in 2019 were no longer as lucrative or simple to grow as they were just 3 years ago. And as someone who had a blog in 2017 and watched others like the Art of Manliness, the How to Beast blog, and Thomas Frank dominate the blog space, I can say this from firsthand experience. On top of that, his classes on Facebook and Snapchat seemed outdated while he was in college. In 2019, Snapchat felt like a dying app since most of its features were stolen by Instagram months before. And no one could predict that shorts/reels and even TikTok would soon be the apps and features that would dominate the social media landscape. The point of this is to demonstrate the reality that the internet causes everything to move quickly. One day, blogs are what's hot, the next day email marketing is a quick way to grow an audience, months later it’s social media, and within a week that could shift to a brand new social media app that adds a new feature and changes the game. Anything you read in a book (which takes a year to produce) will be outdated before it is released (with a few exceptions). Emergence of Alternative Media & Hyper-Specialization The rise of alternative media forms, such as podcasts, audiobooks, blogs, and YouTube channels, has created a diverse array of platforms for delivering engaging and informative content. Podcasts, for example, have exploded in popularity, with over 57% of Americans having listened to one, according to Edison Research. Personally, I find courses, audiobooks, and YouTube to be underrated. They’re fast. And they’re efficient. If you want to read the book: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, you could order the book on Amazon, wait 1-7 days for it to arrive, and then take an additional month or two to read the book. And chances are, you won’t understand all of the nuances or grasp the application immediately. However, an audiobook allows you to get the content instantly. This enables you to be more productive. Your 30-minute commute to work could be 30 minutes of listening to the audiobook. Now, instead of taking over one month to get the information, you can get the information in one week. Now, instead of listening to the audiobook that might take one week, you can listen to the course which is probably more nuanced and might only be a few hours. Courses have become massively popular and many authors, influencers, and professionals condense their insights into a few guided hours of information. Take it one step further. Allow chatgpt to simply give you the most important lessons from the book. Instantaneously. In the modern world, the speed at which you can implement an idea is a superpower. Reading almost guarantees you’re moving in slow motion. Space and Portability Physical books can take up a considerable amount of space and may not be convenient for people with limited storage. In contrast, e-books and digital resources can be stored on a single device, eliminating the need for shelf space. Have you ever been on a trip and had a lot of dead time? Months ago, I went on a beach trip with several friends. I’m not a fan of the beach—I struggle to sit still and my mind is too active to lay in the sand. A friend of mine let me borrow several books that he had with him. Do you think he just carries around books with him wherever he goes? No, of course not. He had a Kindle which had over 10 books that I could choose from. As we navigate the digital revolution of the 21st century, the ways we acquire and share knowledge are evolving. While books will always have some utility, they are no longer the sole or even the most efficient means of learning and sharing information.
The decision to no longer recommend books in 2023 is not a dismissal of their importance but a recognition of the necessity to adapt to a world where knowledge is rapidly evolving and easily accessible through various digital mediums.
From online courses that offer specialized expertise to AI models like ChatGPT that provide instant information, and from YouTube videos that cater to diverse learning styles to audiobooks that make learning more flexible, the options are vast and cater to a range of preferences.
In conclusion, the pursuit of knowledge is no longer confined to the pages of a book but extends to the boundless possibilities of the internet and digital resources. Embrace these changes, explore new mediums, and let them elevate your quest for knowledge in 2023 and beyond.
P.S. I’m taking on a few more people for my beta group who want to be more productive in the next 30 days. If you’re interested, click the link and sign up for more details.