I was someone that didn’t like reading books at all, in this article I will share 9 productive activities that I engaged in to collect information and entertain myself instead of reading books – might be useful if you hate reading books.
When I compiled this list, I included only activities that would give similar benefits to reading books so whether you’re looking for an alternative activity to reading books or looking to jumpstart your reading habit, I think you may find at least 1 idea usable for you.
1) Watch Documentaries Instead Of Reading Books
When I want to spend my time well, yet don’t want to read and don’t want to mindlessly spend time on any social media platforms, I watch some documentaries that are interesting to me.
I’ve found most documentaries to be a good source of information they usually have high production value and are well researched.
That said, I’ve found it easy for myself to fall into the trap of binging on videos other than the documentary that I want to watch whenever I go onto a platform like Youtube or Netflix.
Since then, I’ve found it helpful to determine the documentary I will watch before I enter onto the platform to watch it.
Here are 3 great documentaries that you may consider watching. I’ve linked to some of them below:
- The Social Dillema (About the negative impacts of social networking platforms and how big tech companies make use of engineering to keep people coming back)
- Inside Job (About the financial markets crashing in 2008 and the real reasons behind it)
- Fyre (About a music festival that became a scam)
2) Listen To Podcasts Instead Of Reading Books
I’ve found podcasts to be great to listen in to for times when I’m in commute on the public transport, when it’s squeezy and difficult for me to hold up a book or my phone but yet, I want to spend my time well.
I did a quick Google search and found that there are over 2,000,000 podcasts in the world now – this means that I will be able to find a podcast just about on any topic of my choosing. On top of that, most of them are free and easily accessible.
That said, the challenge with podcasts is to find the ones that offer true value as it relates to your life and mine.
Even with a great podcast series, I’ve found that not every episode offer the information that I’m looking for.
While it’s hit or miss, podcasts are still a great way to learn valuable things during times when you may be unsure of what information to consume.
Here are 2 podcasts on different topics that I’ve found to be consistently good:
- The John Maxwell Leadership Podcast (General personal growth)
- The Financial Coconut (General finance, more catered to the Singaporean audience)
3) Listen To Audiobooks Instead Of Reading Books
Similar to listening to podcasts, I listen to audiobooks when I’m in commute on public transport when it’s difficult for me to hold up anything to read.
The main advantage that audiobooks have over podcasts is that they can give me more specific and targeted information for me to apply and solve the problems I have in my life.
Even though most audiobooks are not free, most are quite affordable and will rarely cost more than $20.
Check out Audible to get started on listening to Audiobooks – most printed books that are available are also available there, they also offer a free trial.
4) Watch A Meaningful Movie Than Read Books
For days when I just want to relax, I watch a movie.
While the main purpose behind documentaries is to inform, watching the right movies combines entertainment with education.
What’s great about movies is that it is one-off. Once it’s finished, there’s nothing else to catch up on. So other than the time spent watching it, I am unlikely to waste more time trying to chase it unless it’s a movie series like Harry Potter.
Here are some great movies I’ve watched over the years that I felt enriched my mind almost as much as reading a book:
- 3 Idiots
- The Admiral – Roaring Currents
- Rocky Balboa
5) Read The Newspaper Instead Of Books
I read the newspaper to keep me updated on current happenings and I also like the unexpected find of some good pieces of information.
Further, it is also easy and quick to read. All I need to do is to skim through the newspaper and hunt for articles that intrigue me – I usually don’t take more than 15 minutes to go through it.
With the technology nowadays, I can just read the newspaper through an e-copy. Very convenient.
But if there’s 1 downside for the newspaper, I think it will be similar to the downside of the podcast – I can’t control what I’m going to get.
Still, reading the newspaper is a good way to get some quick reading in without feeling obligated to complete an entire book.
6) Watch Book Summary Videos Instead Of Reading Books
I watch book summary videos to give myself a peek at the books that I want to read or am considering reading.
Book summary videos are good because they are free, short (about 15 minutes each), and lets me see if the book contains the information that I’m looking for before I commit to buying it.
Although it’s good for the most part, one thing I’m mindful of with such content is that the creators tend to add in some of their own perspectives that can sometimes dilute the original meaning that the author of the book intended.
Book summary videos can be easily found on Youtube. Here are 2 examples:
7) Take Up Online Courses On Udemy Instead Of Read Books
When I have specific knowledge gaps that are best filled by seeing and practice, I look to free and paid online courses that can help me fill these knowledge gaps.
Take for example – I was looking for a system to learn how to file my knowledge and found the Zettalkasten system, thus, I took to Youtube and found a free tutorial video that taught me exactly how to accomplish that.
Be careful with paid online courses though, many out there are overpriced, overpromise and underdeliver. For this reason, I recommend trying to find free online courses that are available on Youtube first.
In cases where I cannot find a free course that can fill my knowledge gap and have no choice but to look to a paid option, I use reputable course providers like Udemy and check the ratings and contents of the course before I purchase them.
8) Listen To Ted Talks Instead Of Read Books
I listen to Ted talks when I want to consume good information but I’m not sure what information exactly to consume.
Because of how Ted is structured, the moment I go into the site, I have the option to listen to numerous talks on various topics ranging from psychology to cryptocurrency to work-life balance.
I often find myself engrossed listening in on topics that I didn’t even know existed before.
Here’s a tip – go to the main Ted website if you want to listen to the truly valuable content.
9) Read A Blog Instead Of Reading Books
From time to time, I go and read from an established blog to see what interesting thoughts they’ve come up with since the last time I checked them out.
Blogs are great for a quick read. The challenge is with finding the right blogs to follow.
Here’s one that I’ve consistently read over the years that may work for you as well:
If you hate reading but want to love it, check out this article I’ve written about 11 tried and proven ways to get into reading even when you may not feel like it.