how to read deeply | virtual book

how to read deeply

#essays #critical-thinking #reading

I read with haste, crazed by

the amount of content

how to choose your next book

#essays #decision-making #reading Mentioned in how to read deeply, what I'm doing now

There is a ridiculous amount of content out there. The diligence we demand of ourselves to finish the book we’re reading is ridiculous too, when you consider how many other books are out there waiting, and how arbitrarily or impulsively you chose this book in the first place.

Am I the only one that neglects their collection of unread books and picks instead a new one from the library or the bookstore?

I’ve learned to sample books, try them without committing, abandon them, plunge into them if they beckon me. I have ideas of where I want to go but also an aversion to planning, so I rely on

coherent impulses

to choose the next step.

I won’t get to unless I hurry. I try to process quickly, see the sense in what the author is saying, and continue to the next thing. I bias towards agreement, and don’t distinguish carefully between my confusion and my disagreement.

I want to practice something new.

I want to look carefully for the little mounds that form over an author’s sentences, bits of hidden meaning. Often the author overlooks or neglects or assumes their way around knotty bits that they don’t want to untangle. But real progress comes from working through these knots. It’s easy to sketch and outline, to present a model. But it’s hard to resolve the tensions that arise when working out the details.

It’s hard to abide by the cliche of breadth and depth because they present different challenges. It can be difficult to cross into new territories, to become a beginner again, to face again the vastness of your ignorance. Difficult in a different way is staying put, digging, insisting on uncertain prize. This second one feels hard to justify when on a

race against death

how to prepare for death

#essays #mortality #time-management #prioritization Mentioned in how to read deeply

Death is coming. Perhaps not so quickly, but surely. What do you do in an exam, when you have 10 questions to answer and one hour to do it? You start with the ones worth the most points. There will be questions you won’t have time to answer.

. It’s slow, very slow, unpromising, unencouraging. But it’s the only way to get to things below the surface.