A few weeks ago, I watched the Matrix again for the first time in years. What a great movie. Forget what was cutting-edge for action and special effects at the time. The plot, the world, and the way in which the story unfolded was superb. It reminded me why I put it in my Top 5 of all time.
If I were to be able to take any of Neo's abilities from that movie, it wouldn't be the ability to fly, stop bullets, or pull off that long trench coat without looking creepy. No, I want the machine that you can plug into your head and download hard skills and knowledge. After 30 seconds of downloading, he opens his eyes and says, "I know kung fu." Then he spends the next 10 hours learning more and more and more. I want that machine.
The best version we have of that today is books. And what an incredible investment $15 and a few hours of your time can get you. We have access to so much information now that we take it for granted and don't take advantage of it. The saying is true- 'We are drowning in information but starving for wisdom.' (Quality) Books are a great way to quickly expose yourself to thoughts and ideas that the authors have spent year(s) distilling. At this point, it is as close to that machine in the Matrix as we are going to get.
A couple of years ago, my wife Ashley began a reading rampage that really inspired me. She's grown so much over the past few years in her faith, insight, and character, and I think her commitment to reading has been a major influence. It's inspired me to ramp up my efforts and I've been reading like crazy too.
I know a lot of people say, "I'm not much of a reader. I don't like to read." Usually meaning, I don't like sitting down and visually looking over something. This is where audiobooks can be a god-send. Several studies have shown that listening to a book is the same as reading it in terms of comprehension and retention. It really just depends on which method of consumption you prefer.