Like several others on this forum, I got started lifting doing Stronglifts. You have to start somewhere and for better or worse that's where it was for me. And I really bought into it--spent all my time on the forums, read every article, wrote a recommendation for the ebook, etc. etc. And I feel like I owe something to Stronglifts since I certainly wouldn't be where I'm at today (with respect to lifting) without it. However, I can't speak for everyone, but I know I picked up some bad habits there in the beginnings of my lifting career. One of which was ebooks.
I have ebooks, usually bought for between $20-40. I have ebooks I've never read. I have ebooks with some useful information. I have ebooks sold in physical form with professional looking covers and binding. I have binders full of ebooks!
Whats wrong with ebooks? Well, last night my wife and I attended a Pampered Chef party disguised as a 'make some salads-in-a-jar' party. My options were to stay home with the kids, or attend and get to take home a few salads to eat later. There's always room for more veggies in my diet, so I figured I'd give it a shot. We were joined there by three gals whom we'd never met before, and from the conversation, sounded like they had little to no cooking experience. In order to prepare the ingredients for these salads we were given an array of task-specific devices, all of which would make salad creation easy enough that anyone could do it! And these girls just ate it up. Meanwhile, I'm thinking just give me a knife and a cutting board and I can do this in less time and with 90% less dishes to wash afterwards. But for those with no experience, a $20-40 tool might seem like the key to making cooking delicious foods something that can be achieved. I feel that most ebooks offer the same false hope.
BUT! You have to start somewhere right? And for a beginner, SL 5x5 V9.03 ebook will help, but like an avocado slicer, maybe there's a better option (a chef's knife). As in cooking, you become a better lifter through practice. It's the guiding tools along the way that make sure you are practicing the right things, learning useful skills, and not handicapping yourself in the long term.
So what's the solution? Read a mother fucking book! Like a real hardcover 383 page book. The best part is, it's the same price as an ebook, just vastly superior as a source of information. Gross consumption is not the path to mastery. My piles of ebooks, virtual and physical, are not worth what I paid for them. Remember school? That place where the whole point was to learn things? Books, instruction, practice. Clif Notes might get you a good grade, but they did not help you understand.
I think part of the problem is being introduced to a subject online. It was only natural for me to continue seeking information online since that's where I started. Nowadays when nearly anything you could want to know is just a click away, it's easy to forget how to go deeper than that first layer of knowledge. The world of blogs, online articles, and ebooks will get anyone started on nearly any topic, but for true mastery I feel that a more academic approach is necessary.
Are there any other book readers out there? What are your recommendations? I have three right off the bat that I have read and would recommend to others:
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe - This is where a beginner should start.
The Cook's Illustrated Meat Cookbook by Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen - If you are interested in the cooking and consumption of meat. I can not recommend this book enough. Easy Strength by Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John - For athletes and those with limited recovery. Prepare to take some notes.