Books as blog posts17 Feb 2019
I always saw myself as one who collects lot of books, but never has the patience to read every single one of them. I often found this to be frustrating, but over time I see my collection as a testament to my investment in improving myself. I do not regret this now, but I do crave for time and will to go over all my books. I am also someone who cannot focus on one book at a time. I tend to move from one topic to another. While this is not generally considered healthy, but I see this trait of myself as a unique characteristic of mine. I now have a huge book collection, both offline in paper and on Kindle. I enjoy the capability to download a sample from Kindle library of any book I desire, and go over when I need it. This feeds my dopamine need and I feel gratified once I get a chance to read a sample. The Japanese have a term for someone who collects lot of books but does not read all of them. It is called Tsundoku.
Recently when listening to a podcast by Tim Ferris, where he interviewed Naval Ravikant, I found that there are other people who suffer from the same habit. I do not blame this fully to the sudden overload of information and the plethora of choices to retrieve information one has on fingertips. Naval however, looks it differently. He mentioned that he now treats book chapters as byte sized blogs that he could consume without the need and obligation to complete a book. So at a time, he is reading over 20 books, and collecting information and hopefully uses his resorvior of mental models to connect and remember what he reads. I got really excited that I could use this approach as well. So rather than being depressed and anxious that I am not really reading a book cover to cover, I should continue consuming information from books as if I am reading a bunch of blog posts.
What I need now is a way to ensure I remember the information I collect from different books, and gather techniques to keep all this cognitively connected. This could help me recall the learning at any point of time when I need it.
Finally I also see one interesting benefit from reading multiple books at a time, or should I say reading chapters from different books at a time. By being able to connect a set of thought process that is scattered across different book and respective chapters, I could see a particular thought from different perspective and light. This means, I should select books that I would like to read at the same time, which have a coherent thought process, but not neccessarily being in the same domain. So for example, if I am interested in human behavior, I could read biographies of thinkers, philosophy from stoic journals, human cognition and decision making texts at the same time.