If you’ve lived at all, you know that you only learn by doing. Picking up a ball and playing the game is a lot more informative to your understanding of a sport than just watching it on TV. Trying to build anything is a lot more educational than watching Bob Vila do it. And you probably also know that doing anything means you’ll make mistakes. Making mistakes isn’t fun but it’s an essential part of the learning process. The more costly or painful the mistake, the longer we remember it. So there’s value in making mistakes.
That being said, we can’t try our hand at everything. Nor do we want to. So in lieu of picking up a rifle and going to war, or making millions only to lose it all because of bad decisions, we can read about it from those who have gone before us. Reading opens up our world to the experiences of countless others who have lived entire lives unlike our own. Through their writing you can travel to the ends of the earth, make and squander fortunes, find love and have your heart crushed, climb to the top of the world and live in the gutter, all from the comfort of your couch.
So pick up a book, any book, and read. Who knows, you just might learn something.
Read more from the archive.