Strong opinions, weakly held

Why you need books in your home

Kids who grow up near books do better in school than kids who don’t, on average.


  1. It’s not the books themselves. The key phrase in that article is “…and the intellectual environment those volumes reflect…”

  2. @Stan,

    I think the point of the article is that a well stocked home library is an indicator that a good environment exists, where parent’s level of education, income, family status, etc are not.

  3. Right. People who buy and collect books generally care about learning in a fundamental way. I think that the mere collection of books sends a message to kids that knowledge is an important thing, something to be encouraged.

  4. I understood the point of the article. Unfortunately, a lot of insecure “I’ll do anything to make sure my kid succeeds” parents will confuse cause and effect and go stock their home with books, thinking it’ll help the kids.

  5. maybe it will — I’m not sure there’s any way to know in advance. certainly, there’s a benefit to thinking of books as part of your everyday world, rather than foreign objects that you encounter only in school!

  6. I don’t think that study adequately accounts for the risk of being buried by collapsing drifts of books stacked up on every available surface.

    My wife to me when discussing potential participation in a neighborhood garage sale: “Well, are there any books you could get rid of?” Me: “Oh sure, and why don’t we just sell the baby while we’re at it.”

    I guess it unavoidably sounds like snobbery to say it, but I don’t get people whose houses are not overflowing with books. What on earth do they do with their time?

  7. Which reminds me of this hilarious set of three videos made by french economics students, about the study on books making people smart.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xYsTky-jHo (20 mintutes, worth it.)

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