“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
Most of my tech knowledge, I taught myself. Ok, small correction. I have been taught. By people. By people, living and also the eminent dead.
I learnt philosophy is just thinking intentionally, and a good way to live, from a Roman Emperor. I learnt about personal finance from a guy who distilled his own life experiences and 20+ years on radio. I learnt about investing from some guy. And then I went and learnt about the importance of Mental Models in life, from the same guy (as did the CEO of Dropbox.) I’ve learnt about the importance of community and giving recently, from a guy I’m in frequent touch with. The only reason you’re reading this, is because I learnt Markdown from the guy who wrote it.
So, yeah, reading is important. Books help us do the work required to have an opinion.
That brings us to whether I should be buying that book I’ve been eyeing or not. The best reason to buy, like Taleb points out, books let us learn and you never know what you’d want to learn
… a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones.
The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there.
You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, … — Nicholas Nassim Taleb (Antifragile)
And as to whether you should do it, that can easily be explained, like Ramit Sethi does in a 140 characters
Slightly more detail in Rule 3 of this article. Like the ad says, “An idea can change your life!” Books unequivocally, are the best source of ideas.
So what are you waiting for? If there’s a book you’ve been wanting to read, go buy, beg, borrow or steal it!