Anyone has access to books and articles. It's a level playing field for the literate. However, not everyone has access to the conversations of movers and shakers or knows how to listen in order to read between the lines. That's why getting in on the conversation is the sweet spot in getting ahead.
It's bad advice hammering the young to read read read. Instead they should be let in on the reality of how valuable information and insight get transmitted. This isn't new. For centuries it was well known that it was the "C" students who became the bosses of the "A" students. That's because the "C" students were the ones talking and listening. The "A" students were the ones booking it.