Why Books Don’t Change Your Life

November 12, 2013

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. Walter Disney

Lot’s of influential people will tell you that reading books will change your life.  I’m here to tell you that this just isn’t true!

If you are anything like me, you probably read quite a bit.  But that also means that you’ve probably ran into more than one book that made little to no impact on who you are.

Three Reasons Why Some Books Failed To Move The Needle In My Life:

  1. It sucked.  Some books just aren’t that good.  Reading these are a waste of time unfortunately.  This is why I always try to spend some time researching a book before I commit to it.
  2. I rushed it.  This is tough.  Sometimes, I’m so excited about a particular book that I rush through it hoping to uncover some magical nugget, that I miss the spirit of the book.  This is an easy mistake.  Taking notes helps.
  3. My mind was not open to it.  As much as I preach about being open minded, you’d think that this wouldn’t be a problem.  However, sometimes I’m as closed minded as the next guy.  Reading some Seth Godin helps cure this.  😉
  4. The topic just wasn’t interesting to me.  This is tough, because sometimes you have to learn about a topic that isn’t that interesting.  Usually, I struggle with this one.  Trying to find motivation usually helps me.  Taking notes help too.
  5. Self-help-itis.  This is my own term for when I just have read to many self help books, so I stop believing.  Skepticism isn’t always a bad thing, but it is dangerous.  What if you miss something great because your change muscle is sore?  When I get this way, I usually try to take a break and recharge.

With all that being said, the truth is that books themselves don’t change anyone’s life.  Rather, the ideas in those books help people to see things differently.  That’s why I chose the quote above for this post; it’s my curiosity of new things (and hopefully better things) that keeps me opening new doors.  The way I see it, books hold the proverbial keys to those new doors, but I have to open them.

Of course, the bottom line is that only you can change your life…

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Question:  What role have books played in opening new doors for your life?



2 responses to Why Books Don’t Change Your Life

  1. Let’s Grow Leaders November 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    If I’m reading leadership stuff, I always read with a pencil in hand. I’ve also learned it’s okay to not finish a book if it’s not working for me.