Having finished reading a book over the weekend made me realize how much they impact human advancement. They serve as the telescope into the universe of knowledge. Our innate mental capacity can only take us so far, we must then reach out to seek mental expansion through literature. What never seizes to astound me is the ability for a book to take you through a life which we may never experience, yet vicariously grant us a newfound piece of wisdom (to a certain extent).
Ignorance is a thing of the past once someone reads, but contrary to the saying that ignorance is bliss, there is a lot of joy and happiness that stems from the continual stream of knowledge that is literature. Greed is abolished as well through stories that provide empathy by walking us through the consequences of our selfish actions. Violence in all its forms is painted for what it is; nothing more than the irrational deterrence against human progress.
Then there's the mysticism that a [physical] book connotes (even more so in the case of a used book). The weight and feel of a piece of literature sparks excitement to see what lies within the thick burrows of a lettered forest. There may be resistance to see what lies deeply, but once we are in, each turn of the page takes you on a journey that you wish you had started sooner. This is something you cannot put a price on.
Hence, books are undeniably the single greatest investment one could make. There's no risk, and what lies in front of you is the pathway to infinite knowledge. It's a shame we don't read enough as a society - through the worldly knowledge contained in books is the key to solving all of life's miseries.