Alternatives for Reading Books

7 Alternatives for Reading Books to Gain Knowledge (2023)

We all know reading books can be a huge source of information and knowledge. However, reading books is not the best option for everybody, so what are the alternatives for reading books?

In this post, we will go through the 7 best alternatives for reading books to gain knowledge about different topics. Without any more chitchat, let’s start with the first and my most used alternative.

1. Educational YouTube videos

I love educational YouTube videos. Especially ones that have a wide variety of sources and good animations running in the background.

Watching, listening, and reading captions while watching educational YouTube videos will make your learning a lot more efficient as well, compared to just reading the information. When you use more senses for learning, it will be more efficient.

Some of the best Educational YouTube channels that I have watched a lot in the past are:

  • Veritasium
  • Vsauce
  • The Infographics Show
  • Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
  • TED-Ed

Having your notifications on for those channels, you always get a notification when a new video pops up. Then you can either swipe it away or save it for the watch later list if the topic seems interesting to you.

It is amazing, how much you can learn from short information packages on YouTube. Of course, you won’t become an expert by watching a 10-minute video, but it can give you some good basic information about the topic. Then you can determine whether you want to dig deeper into that topic.

2. Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great alternative to reading books. If you are a slow reader and the words just seem to jump before your eyes, audiobooks might be a great alternative to their written versions.

The good thing about audiobooks is that they are typically the exact same as their written versions. They contain the exact same information, in a different forms.

Compared to watching a compressed YouTube video about a book, audiobooks do not cut off any information. So if you want to get access to full information about a certain book, without actually reading, audiobooks might be great.

3. Book summaries

Book summaries are another good alternative to reading the whole book right away.

There are a lot of book summaries on YouTube with nice animations to make the video more visually appealing. They can also be found in written form on various different websites online. Some of them are free, others have small monthly payments.

If you are deciding between two books, reading summaries from both of them might give you a pretty good image of what they are about, without blindly picking one.

4. Podcasts

Podcasts are a pretty new invention, at least when compared to regular books.

They are also a great alternative to books, and there is a podcast pretty much on any topic nowadays. You can find podcasts on YouTube or Spotify or simply type Google your desired topic + podcast.

I do not have a lot of experience in listening to full episodes of podcasts, but some of my friends seem to love them. I also have watched some shorter clips of podcasts from YouTube. That is also an option if you don’t want to listen to the entire podcast.

5. Interviews

Instead of reading a whole book about the life of some CEO or other famous person, you might try to find an interview where they share their knowledge.

There are a lot of interviews full of great information all around the internet. YouTube regularly suggests interviews of some successful people and sometimes, I fall for the trick and watch hours of interviews.

In interviews, people might share some knowledge that they would not think about when writing a book, for example. When someone is asking the right questions, it makes it also easier for the person interviewed to answer and bring their knowledge to the table.

6. Documentaries

Longer documentaries found on Netflix for example are also a great source of information and a good alternative to reading books.

There are A LOT of documentaries on Netflix on different topics. Some of them are about CEOs of big companies, some about science, nature, ocean life, space, food, or whatever topic you might be interested in, chances are, there are at least a few documentaries about it.

The good thing about documentaries is that they can be both entertaining and educative to spend a few hours watching a documentary.

I do have a couple of recommendations of documentaries I really felt were worthy of watching:

  • Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
  • Elon Musk: The Real-Life Iron Man
  • American Factory

All of those bring in a new perspective on how you might see the world we live in.

You can find interesting documentaries by going to Netflix -> Movies -> Documentaries and searching for something you are interested in.

7. Blogs / informational websites

There is also a lot of written information that is not in book form. The Internet is full of websites that have information about different things.

Whatever you type to Google, something is always written on some website. The information might not always be accurate or it can be biased, but there is some information about it.

If you want to learn to install a new front door, there might be better sources for that online, compared to getting a book about the topic.

For example, this website you are reading right now. I do not have a book where I have gathered all the information that can be found on my website, it’s just here.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, there are a lot of alternatives for gathering knowledge than reading books.

Reading books can be difficult and seen as a boring task that only old people do. Even though I would highly recommend starting to read actual books, picking one or more of these alternatives can also make a huge difference.

If you are not much of a reader (yet), I have a post about reading goals for struggling readers. Check it out if interested.

Read also: Can you learn new skills just from books?

Hopefully, this was helpful, have a wonderful day!