You need to read physical Books (better technology than digital books)

You need to read physical Books (better technology than digital books)

I love books, the ‘real world’ physical ones, the BookBook(s). Not the digital alternatives who are a shadow of a book and are not good technologies to consume knowledge.

I love books, and for a while I too had the a guilty feeling of 'holding on to legacy technology', as the world moved into consuming more and more digital content (including digital books).

For reference I buy hundreds of books per year and spend far too much money than I should on books. Have I read them all, no of course not! Have I found amazing books to read every year that improved my skills and knowledge, absolutely yes!!! The reason I buy so many books (multiple per topic) is because until I start reading them, I don't know which one is perfect (at that moment in time)

After looking closely at why I liked books so much, I had the epiphany that "Books are actually the best technology to consume and process information".

There is also a growing body of research that shows that the use of digital technologies are also affecting kid's learning capabilities (see "students find it easier to read and learn from printed materials")

Basically, if you don't use books or printed materials to read and review the information you are consuming (and creating), you are missing a massive trick.

The digital world is really good at promoting group think and to present the previous technologies as 'legacy' and old-fashioned.

My experience is that books (and printed materials) are much better technologies for the consumption of information. One area where the advantages of the digital books can be significant are novels and fictional stories (namely the convenience of access and the weight difference), in this case the books are just a transient medium that is being used to tell a story, just like in a movie (in most cases, what the reader is getting are emotional connections with the characters/story, and not really learning from the text)

The reality is if you want to learn, you are better of using a book or printed materials.

The same happens with reviewing materials. It not coincidence that we all have experiences of writing content in a digital medium (i.e. the computer) and while reading it on a screen it kinda looks ok. Then once we print it, and enjoy the unidirectional, offline and 100% focused activity experience that is 'reading a piece of paper', we find tons of errors and 'WTF was I thinking when I wrote that!' moments. In fact making notes on printed versions of digital content, is exactly how I am writing and reviewing this book's content.

Yes, the fact that books are offline is one of the book's main competitive advantages!

The book's 'features' of not being interrupted by a constant stream of apps/websites notifications and not having a browser at hand, does wonders for your ability to focus and to consume information.

Another powerful feature of books (in addition of rendering contentin HD with real-time refresh rate), is that they allow your brain to consume information in a 3D format and with more senses. For example, notice how when you flick back pages looking for a particular passage or diagram, your eyes will be looking at a particular section of the page. This means that your brain not only is capturing the content that it is reading, it is also capturing (and storing) the location of that content, and how it relates to the rest of the page. One of the reasons that lead me to the epiphany of the value of books was how I noticed that it was bothering me the fact that the kindle reorders paragraphs and pages when you flick back (and how it was affecting my ability to find content I've already read)

Environmental impact of books

My understanding (and please correct me if I'm wrong) is that most books these are are printed from either recycled paper or from sustainable forests (i.e. forests where they plant at least as many new trees as they cut).

This mean that these days, the impact of books on the environment is minimal.



This post is released under an Creative Commons license, and is based on the ‘Books’ chapter from the Generation Z Developers book I’m currently writing.

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