Top 5 Alternatives to Reading That Work


Alternatives to Reading: Improve your knowledge

The writer of, How to Read 365 Books in a Year (or at Least Read Once a Day) is clearly an avid reader. And while that description has never fit me, I have always valued the emotional and intellectual stimulation, and sense of accomplishment that comes with reading. I have “read” a few audio books in the past, in fact 37% of adults have done so, but I never seriously considered it as a true alternative to reading or source of professional development. I recently downloaded a free trial of an audio book app, rushed through a new book, then completed a book that I had started long ago but never finished. I am hooked!

So does listening offer the same benefits as traditional reading? While there has not been a lot of research in this area, studies have shown that reading and listening comprehension levels are similar. Reading is a valuable source for professional development. Career, industry specific and self-improvement books consistently top the best sellers lists. As the old adage goes, “Knowledge is power.” In addition, to the professional benefits, audiobooks offer a great alternative or supplement for those who have a learning disability.

Audio books allow you to use that extra brainpower, multi-task and learn something new when you can’t hold a book, activities like driving, walking the dog and working out are just a few examples. Here is a list of top alternatives to reading.

Top Five Alternatives to Reading

  1. Audiobooks – You might need to invest in a quality pair of noise cancelling headphones if you really need to concentrate.

  2. Ted Talks – “TED is a non-profit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less)” Talks are presented by industry and world leaders, including former presidents and Fortune 100 CEO’s.
  3. Podcasts – Use the app on your smart phone to browse the wide variety of offerings. Podcasts are usually relatively short and will focus on just one topic per episode. You can subscribe to your favorites so they come to you each week.
  4. Spoken word /Poetry readings /Theater – Knowledge of literature promotes a strong sense of culture. If you don’t like to read you can find some alternatives on the art scene. Take in a poetry reading or Shakespeare in the Park and you’ll get to experience culture first-hand.
  5. Documentaries – Media outlets like PBS, cable and Netflix offer endless access and variety to quality documentaries that might lead to binge watching. Ken Burns, the legendary creator of such documentaries as Baseball, The Civil War, Jazz and most recently, Jackie Robinson, takes the deep dive into the details and backstories that make history intriguing.

Our lives are busy, and still, we have a desire to learn. It turns out we don’t have to replace working out with reading; we can do both.


“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden