Is reading really a bad thing?

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I was wondering, have we moved to a society that no longer values reading? So many I meet seem surprised that I read 15-20 books a year... Have we become so dependent on media stimulation that reading is becoming obsolete?

I pick up a book and one of things that thrill me about reading is that I get to use my imagination to conjure the idea the author is trying to present. I mean, in video or sound, the idea is conveyed in almost instant information. The brain reacts to the observed senses. But there is something far deeper in using one's imagination to explore an idea.

There is far more depth and richness available when one reads a story. The author can give minute detail that enhances the understanding of the story. Video seems to appeal to the senses... reading to the cerebral. Is it not better to exercise our brains and our imaginations? What will become of creativity if we only observe that which is shown and we do use our imaginations to expand beyond what can be seen?

I seem to remember that as a kid predictions were made that my generation, the first to grow up surrounded by television, would produce a generation of non-performing humans. Did that happen?

What about back in the stone ages when radio became a standard means of communication? In an article on the web posted on Virginia's EDU web site (, the author says, "the advance of radio technology also created a tension between modernity and the traditions and habits of Americans." Is my sense just another example of the clash between modernity and tradition?

I don't think it just a clash. Real change has occurred as I see many reject the idea that reading details is a good thing. The number of emails that we answer each day where no effort is made to read and comprehend what our tools can do for a user astounds me. Oh, we can argue that the Ross-Tech web site could be improved. But the fact is, many of the questions asked are answered on pages such as the FAQ - easy to find. Why don't people take the time to look?

A post made by Jack@European_Parts ( shows a device advertisement where the manufacturer, Fluke, has just about eliminated all written content to talk about their tool. Being a reader, as I tried to find the specs for the device on this presentation, they were not really there. Each presentation uses a video to help the observer understand the product and how it might work. But the presentations left me wanting... I wanted to know more - I wanted to read about the device. There is something about reading the details that just helps my comprehension.

Time will tell. We can only know the results of the changes that are occurring when we look back from a point in the future. But given that so many reject reading, is it time for Ross-Tech and others to embrace the new methods of communicating? Indeed it is and we have started. Look to our Wiki for Videos that Jef has prepared.

For me, reading will remain a staple of my intellectual diet. I learn by reading. I believe that reading about other people and their stories helps me to understand humans. Reading informs when I am seeking information about technology. I am not a aural learner. I am somewhat of a visual learner. But reading provides the best comprehension for me. Don't tell me, give me the details in written form and then show me. I suppose others work differently.
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  1. Bruce's Avatar
    So this thread sort of picked up my blog concept and explored it more:

    There is an article cited in the posts in the Washington Post that discusses some ideas similar to mine:
    Washington Post article on how reading skills have changed with the Internet

    Then tonight while doing some reading on Facebook, I came across this article:
    Read, Kids, Read by Frank Bruni

    It seems I am not the only person wondering about this move away from reading.