If you follow my blog you probably know that I follow Seth Godin’s blog. And we’ve talked about Seth here, here and here. Plus we ran a 14 part marketing trends series based on his book Meatball Sundae here, here and here.
Reading Books Stats
Overnight Seth’s latest blog post was about telling the truth with charts. Whilst that was interesting and important, I was startled by the data he was sharing. It was all about the massive drop in book reading.
- 23% of Americans read zero books in 2014 compared to only 8% in 1978.
- A heavy book reader consumes more than 11 books a year. In 2014, only 28% of Americans read more than 11 books compared to 42% in 1978.
QUESTION: Are you reading more or less books?
The Value of Reading Books
I’m a book reader. I read 40-50 books a year. Obviously, I like to read and I like the ideas that spark from reading. And, whilst people not reading the full book might be good for my book summary service Book Rapper, it will be interesting to see what impact this has in the near future.
I read books because they go into an idea into depth compared to a blog post that merely scoots across the services or dumbs it down into the 7 key points.
[Tweet “Is the drop in book reading an emerging problem? #readingbooks”]
Slacktivism and Reading Books
The concern I have about people not reading books is the loss of depth in our knowledge.
A parallel example might be the rise of ‘Slacktivism’. This is a joining of the word ‘slacker’ and ‘activism’. It highlights a trend around social causes where people show their support for a cause with the least amount of effort. For instance, I might ‘like’ a cause on Facebook and congratulate myself that I have done enough.
In terms of building our knowledge bank, I’m hearing people say that they have read a blog about it or watched an 18-minute TED video and that’s enough. Or worse, a CEO has read a single book on a topic and now wants to drive their company in a new direction because of it.
[Tweet “Is knowledge the new slacktivism? #learning”]
To be clear, this is not about reading books. Books are simply a container or package of ideas and information. We can learn in depth in other ways. And, it is about this fundamental question:
QUESTION: What are you doing to stay up to date with the latest thinking in your area of interest and expertise?
Love to hear your thoughts about this.