Tony Edwards

I could have watched a six minute video instead

- 1 min

An often-seen comment in reviews for non-fiction books is that they’re repetitive. This is especially true for many books that fall into the broad “advice” category. It may be self-help, good nutrition, business development and similar genres.

The comments are usually in a similar vein:

“There were 5 good ideas in this book that kept being repeated throughout. The author kept talking through case studies to expand on the points.”

“I could have got the 7 key ideas from a 6-minute video on YouTube video.”

I fear that these people miss the point. Some topics require the reinforcement that comes with going over a subject repeatedly. More often than not, this type of book’s contents is very close to common sense.

Instead, you might need more context to fit it into life. Reading (or listening to) the same topic from different angles through varied examples makes it click. The nuance between them is where the proper understanding comes from. Repetition is the mother of learning, after all. You may even take a synoptical approach, reading around the subject to bring different viewpoints into yours. Sometimes you may opt to consume the same book multiple times. . . but books that good would probably not attract the reviews discussed here.

Is this a consequence of our immediate gratification-skewed modern lives?

Plenty of videos on YouTube cover the topics from pretty much any book you could mention. Many with millions of views. They’re great, but are like reading the contents page of a book and thinking you understand the rest of it. If being exposed to the ideas alone was the answer, we’d all be highly productive millionaires working from a beach, earning our next million entirely from passive income.

But I’m not.

Statistically, neither are you.

And people endlessly consuming bite-size tip videos probably aren’t either.

Originally featured on LinkedIn.

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