Books

"We’re taught from a young age that books are something you finish. Books are sacred. When you go to school and you’re assigned to read a book, you have to finish the book. So…we get this contradiction where everyone I know is stuck on some book. So what do you do? You give up on reading books for a while." - Naval Ravikant

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Why do we consider books to be 'sacred'? Why does our society hold books in such high regard?

Of course, certain books are powerful and influential. They can help spread ideas and enrich our lives. They can bring about revolutions and change the course of countries. 

But does a book have value just because it's a book?

There are plenty of poorly-written works these days. Anyone can publish a book, and it feels like we're flooding the market with mediocrity. 

Occasionally we witness insightful tweets, blog posts, and emails. Just because something is typed on paper and in binding, doesn't mean it inherently has value.

So when we recognize this, it's apparent that we don't owe any allegiance to books.

You can pick them up and put them down at will, without feeling any guilt or shame.

This idea isn't meant to justify flightiness or a lazy disposition. Instead, it's to help you expand your ability to consume insightful information.

You could read 10 books at a time, periodically picking up and putting down whichever one draws peaks your interest. 

Why slog through something because of some arbitrary sense of obligation?

And when you read a variety of books simultaneously, you're more likely to make connections across these works.

In fact, maybe we're publishing books all wrong. Perhaps we need curators who simply take bits and pieces of other books and synthesize them into one text.

(of course, this isn't a novel ideas...but at least we could remove the expectation for these synthesizers to add their own opinions. It could just be someone's job to just cut and paste insightful passages into some interesting mix.)

Perhaps the main caveat is that people won't delve deep into works if they don't stick with just one book and see it through to the end.

Maybe this strategy just highlights our short attention spans.

I think it's good thing to go both wide and deep with your learning. You can pick out books from a wide variety of disciplines, and then choose one or two to really sink your teeth into. That way you become very familiar with your favorite subjects, while also acquiring broad-based knowledge. 

The most important thing is to question how we learn, and to think of creative alternatives to the traditional ways of reading.