Books Are Great, But Some Lessons Require Experience

Tom Fitzgerald
4 min readJan 2, 2022

I’ve used books about business, psychology, and successful people to seek insights that could fast track my growth and development. These books share many people’s critical remarks about business or life, so much that if you just did that, you would be successful (according to them).

I planned to take the experience and key learnings of the best performers and apply it to my life. As a result, I would become a super performer, as I would leverage thousands of life years of experience from them and apply it to me.

This would put me on a trajectory to world domination, as I had access to knowledge and insights much earlier in life than they did, and look what they became!

It hasn’t quite panned out like that so far. I’ve picked up some good insights, but I’ve also forgotten many more of them.

I also found entire communities that consume this content religiously and seemingly live off quotes about Elon, Sara and Jeff, yet they have achieved relatively little, except for their impressive bank of quotes about Elon, Sara and Jeff.

They know every quote, story and buzzword, while always having a book on the go and waiting for the next one. I used to envy their knowledge and think I had so much work to do to reach their level.

However, I eventually realised that most of them were experts in consuming content, not executing. Most genuinely successful people had read a few things but were more focused on implementation over observations.

The problem with this advice is threefold.

Firstly, it’s contextual. What works for someone and their circumstances won’t necessarily work for you and me.

So many of the entrepreneurs who ‘started with nothing’ actually came from family wealth. They might not have had a lot, but they had a safety net to help them get started. The average person working hard to pay their mortgage and look after the family may want to start a business, but there’s a lot more to lose, and they don’t have the safety net.

Sometimes the advice is disingenuous and is a well-crafted story aimed to sell books, not share with others. This might be my cynicism, but there are times when I’ve read books and truly…

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Tom Fitzgerald

Nutritionist & Exercise Scientist writing about health, business and my everyday life in Australia.