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Information is Not Power

focus May 20, 2020

“Another dead read?” The words stung as my wife responded to my summary of The 4-Hour Work Week – a book I had just finished reading that explained how I could be financially free simply by reselling goods from China and outsourcing all the work to do this feet to Filipinos making $2/hour (my gross over-summary of the book). A “dead read” represents a book that I read that makes me feel like I’ve learned something (and that feels good), but I never intend to do anything about. Chances are good that in a matter of weeks, the only thing I’ll be able to remember from the book is the summary I just gave you.

I go through phases of over-reading. It usually happens when I take my kids to the library – their Disneyland. They load up totes of books, which leaves me to wander through aisles of books on business, personal growth, and theology. When it’s done, I usually walk away from the library with 5-10 books of my own and binge read them. The moments of new insight I gain from other perspectives always excites me. It makes me feel good – just like the feeling I remember from playing video games back in the day. But just like video games, the reality of book reading is…nothing has actually happened.

“So what did that book do for you?”

I was talking to a friend about a book that I was reading (ironically, I have no idea which book that was) and they asked this question. I stared blankly for 2-3 seconds before stammering out, “I, uhhh…thought it was interesting that <blah blah blah – rehashing some information from the book>…uhhh…what do you mean?” The friend smiled and said, “It sounds like it was a good book – I was just curious if you saw any changes in your life because of it.”

It was then that I realized, Information is NOT Power. As the Good Book once said:

Faith without works is dead.

And so is information without action. Thus, I choose not to be an information consumer, but rather, take the information that I’ve received, process it into practical steps (if possible – much of our information these days is “hopeful concepts” that sound good, but change nothing) and put it to the test.

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