When I was little, my parents used to tell me how reading books will make me successful. How I should stop playing games all day and start reading. Well, nowadays I am reading various books all the time and it really helps me out. I guess I should thank the old ones (No, I’m not referring to Cthulu) for this one, even though they didn’t put this idea in me in the best possible way.

However, there is a huge misconception in this philosophy.

Whenever someone tells you that you should read books and you ask him why, he usually says something like

Knowledge is power

A very popular saying. But is it truly the case?

When I was in school, I read all the books from the George R. R. Martin series A Song of Ice and Fire. This is the book sequel of the famous TV series, called Game of Thrones. It was a great pleasure reading them. If you ask me now, I can tell you the stories of all the famous characters of Westeros. However, these books have not helped me achieve my goals. They have aided me by offering a nice story before I fall asleep in the evening. Surely, there are some philosophies in these books, which have helped me shape my principles. But nonetheless, the impact on my growth in terms of knowledge is not much.

One day, however, one title caught my eye in the book store. It was called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. I decided to give this book a try and see what its worth. After all, I had never read a book like this before. And the difference between this book and the books I had read before was huge. Steven Covey did not write an interesting story about a fantastic kingdom and a band of knights. He wrote about powerful lessons and principles in life, which helped me define my goals and gain confidence in what I do.

After reading this book, I gained a different view over the books I read. Now I know that

Knowledge is not power. Applied knowledge is

You can spend all your life reading J.K. Rowling, Terry Prachett and George R. R. Martin, but that won’t help you achieve your goals. Only when you begin reading books with the purpose of gaining practical knowledge from them, can you gain something valuable from them. Nowadays, I spend a lot of my time reading books for personal development, finance and computer science literature. Books by Steven Covey, Dale Carnegie and Robert Kiyosaki are among my favorites.

But should we abandon our favorite fantasy tales? Of course not. Fantasy books and interesting tales can be helpful as well. Currently, I am reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (The third book from the sequel) even though I have this philosophy in mind. And I can’t wait for George R. R. Martin to release the sixth book from his sequel.

Reading serious literature can be quite exhausting and that is why I diversify from time to time with the good old books I enjoy reading.

Apart from that, every kind of literature has a nice “passive” effect on you by enriching your vocabulary bank and with that – your speech becomes better. You can also find interesting thoughts where you do not expect them.

Conclusion

Not all books aid you in the journey of achieving your goals. But common books are not obsolete as well. My goal is not to discourage you from reading the books you love. It is rather to present a different view of the books we read and perhaps encourage you to try a different kind of genre.

When I was little, I used to watch Cartoon Network all the time and I enjoyed it a lot. But at one point, I stopped watching it. Not because I didn’t enjoy it anymore, but because someone had told me that only little kids watch cartoons and it is time for me to grow up.

That was a huge mistake.

Don’t stop watching cartoons as I did. Rather, continue watching them, but diversify with other channels as well.