In defense of books

Lately, I’ve become more and more aware in my own life (and in the stories of my friends) with how our Netflix watching has — let’s be honest — gotten a little out of control.

I’m probably as guilty as the next person. (Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Scandal, Marco Polo, Longmire, Frontier, the list goes on…)

But one thing I’ve been noticing is that with the advent of streaming video services such as Netflix, we can feed our escapism desires to an unlimited degree. No longer do we have to wait a week for the next episode to release, as it once did with TV. No, now we can watch episode-after-episode until our heart’s content.

As a matter of act, I met a person this past month who (apparently) literally works and watches Netflix. He’s not married, in fact has never married, and he has no kids. He’s crossing the age of forty and in asking him several questions, he made clear to me that he has no hobbies or things he enjoys doing other than watching Netflix.

In fact, he told me he’d stayed up to two a.m. the night prior and added that when he’s not binge-watching a series, he’s catching up on his sleep because he’s irresponsibly stayed up too late, he relayed with a laugh.

I mean, I kind of get it. And I’m not trying to be judgy here, but there seriously has to be more to life than that.

And while I get we watch to often escape and get through life, while mentally preparing for another day at work that most of us don’t enjoy, for pay most of us need more of, I fear we’re digging holes for ourselves.

As such, I’d like to propose a possible solution beyond simply being more disciplined on how much we watch. My solution is a little old-fashioned or maybe hip? (Old is in, right?)

Yes, dear friend, I’m talking about reading more. We all know that reading has scientific benefits, such as improving vocabulary, sharpening your mind, reducing stress, and preventing cognitive decline in patients with dementia.

But it also gives you more time off and away from work. What I mean is that at least for me and most of my friends, you simply don’t read for as long of periods as you might binge-watch Netflix.

Time slows down when you read and your weekend is extended. No more three-hour sit fests in front of the screen; instead, I’m betting you’ll find yourself reading for a much shorter period, though it’ll feel longer than it actually is.

Often, I’ve gotten engrossed in a book and stopped reading, thinking, “Man, I’ve probably been reading for like two hours.” And almost always, only thirty or forty minutes have passed.

Plus, since it’s difficult to read for as long as you watch Netflix, it’s been my experience that you’ll find yourself doing more chores, dragging yourself out to exercise, etc.

And it’s these activities that lead to a higher over-all happiness.

As Sifu Shi Yan Ming says, “We always want things because we think they will make us happier, but they are just distractions and momentary fixes. True happiness comes from polishing your life. A life of action, not distraction.”

Bottom line, in my very biased opinion, I think books can provide us a better option to consume and enjoy some limited distraction in our modern-day lives.

We only have a very limited amount of time that we’re not stuck at work or at some required event we must go to. We need to maximize and use that time as best we can.

As Ming says, “A foolish person wishes for good things to happen to them, but fortune, success, and happiness, rarely just fall in your lap. You must grasp your life and sharpen it.”

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell


Stan R. Mitchell, author and prior Marine, is best known for his Nick Woods Marine Sniper series, which remained in the Top 100 on Amazon for more than three years. The series was also picked up by for a multi-book audio deal. Additional works include a Western thrillerdetective series, and World War II story. Learn more at

12 thoughts on “In defense of books

    1. That’s pretty amazing. And it has to put you in like the top five percent percentile, or ever how you’re supposed to say that…

      What got you started reading? And how old were you? (Watership Down was one of the big starts to my love of books, back when I was in eighth grade, if memory serves me correctly.)


  1. Guilty as charged your honour, but not on the same platform!
    I am a movie maniac but I’ve never been to Netflix.

    I agree, given a choice to decide on a movie or a book, the latter will win my sympathy. I hated Bourne Identity movie but loved the book! Hate American assassin the movie but love its written form.
    I agree books are a great deal compared to movies

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s only in SUPER rare instances that the movie actually trumps the book. Like, almost never. I even felt this way about Game of Thrones, which everyone still raves about; but the TV series just fizzled out for me… Too little character development in the restrictive format required. I just found myself not caring about the characters.


  2. What wise words, Stan. As a mother, I am highly aware of our media saturated culture and want no part of it for my kids or myself. I only get to raise my kids once, and how sad would it be if we all missed each other because we were zoned out in front of the TV? We spend way more time reading and playing than keeping up with the latest shows.

    I think there is an unfortunate side effect to having a “low TV lifestyle,” and it’s that one may have a hard time making small talk with others about these popular shows. I honestly have no idea what Game Of Thrones is about (I’m guessing thrones are in there, though). I have made peace with never being cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think what you mention truly is a bit of an unfortunate side effect. There are so many TV series that I hear people are watching on Netflix, which most of the time I have no idea about. lol

      And only a truly cool person would be okay with “never being cool!”


  3. So does that guy watch Netflix so much because of his lack of a personal life, or does he lack a personal life because he watches Netflix so much? I wonder how he’s going to feel about all this when he’s on his death bed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now that’s an incredible question in your first sentence! lol. And your last point is something to ponder, too! I’m betting he’s not putting much thought into either of those questions.


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