Reading as Social Capital – It’s Way Better Than Watching TV

You want real social capital to impress your friends and colleagues? Read a book. Turn off the television.

I’m serious. You could watch another weekend marathon of Seinfeld to learn all the silly jokes, or rent every episode of 24 and barricade yourself in the family room, or download every Breaking Bad show to get caught up. You could become hip by learning all the character names of The Big Bang Theory or find out what the acronym NCIS actually means.


Remember, Teddy Roosevelt would read a book a day before breakfast. And still had time to ride a moose.

In the end, you’d have a few moments of shallow entertainment and a bit of wispy social capital that ever so quickly goes away.

Instead, turn off the TV and merely pretend you watch. Smile knowingly when people go into details about the latest 17-year old discovered on a talent show.

Then change the topic to the latest book you read. You want real social capital? You want to be truly countercultural? Then read a book.

You don’t have to eliminate TV from your life, just turn the stupid thing off every now and then. I’m at 80+ books this year, and still found time to watch more television than I care to admit. It can be done. Reading as social capital – it’s way better than watching TV.

Want some ideas for what book to read? Here’s a link to the books I’ve read this year. Let me know if you want a specific recommendation. Now go build your social capital.

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