I never really talked about this before.
Many people stressed about the importance of books. Books, today, have changed much since decades ago, by fully embracing the digital world.
Book to me, is merely a carrier of information. In the old times, old people would always tell you that reading books is healthy for life. Right now, the way I read books and think about books has definitely changed over time.
Yes, of course, books are definitely important, but I am not going to stress too much about how important books can be.
As I said, books are carriers of information. There are tons of information on a book you can find, the obvious ones, the need-to-contemplate-a-bit ones, and the hidden ones.
I saw people who brag about reading one book a day. That’s not my forte, and also I don’t think that would be efficient enough to really understand what a book wants to tell you. Information is information, more information, better the result.
If people are going to ask me what can they do when they read a book. My suggestions would be:
- Take notes. Always take notes, this proves that you’re actually comprehending the book, not skimming.
- Think, when you’re reading. Take your brain along while you’re reading a book. Ask questions. You will always have questions if you’re actually reading a book. A book without a question means you never really read the book.
- Answer the questions with whatever possible means. Find people who are knowledgeable on this topic; email the author; ask hobby groups and others. There are tons of ways to acquire an answer for a question you can’t answer yourself.
- If the book is important, take it with you wherever you go. I do this—I always carry an Essays by Francis Bacon in my backpack.
- Read it out loud, or use your finger or mouse cursor and hover over the text. This helps you focus on the text and reduces distraction surrounding you.
- Read carefully. As I said, books contain information. There are information you can find easily, and you can’t. The author, may tell you something that you can obviously tell, by the context and any other useful information you have on the book. By adding a little consideration, you can quickly conclude something out of a passage.
But mind you, hidden information are never intentionally written down. You can collect these hidden information by contemplating around the context, and understand the hidden messages, background and other trivial details. An author can’t really omit these details because that won’t make sense for the context. You not only need to understand the initial meaning by the author, you also need to extract meaning from the context as well. That’s why language is so powerful. Reading out an author’s meaning is just 100% utilization rate of a book, reading out “other information” contained in a book is a 150% utilization rate. You will need this one.
But in a time like this, you probably would prefer other media formats over the old school books. Videos, audible books are great ways to understand a concept much faster than a paper book.
To be frank, I still prefer paper books over digital e-books. The touch on papers is a link between you and the author, and it is also neater and quieter than a tablet. The old school cool.