I don’t mean your Facebook feed or that news portal full of violence. I mean your books. Including the very ones covering the latest technologies. Including the ones about the most important aspects of your craft. Stop reading them. Throw them away!
This is the very same piece of advice Seneca and Marcus Aurelius suggested themselves and others.
Isn’t that strange? According to Ryan Holiday, it is not. “Because to the Stoic, anything done to excess is a vice, and that includes the consuming of books.”
Do you read a fair amount every day? Nice! But why do you do that? To show off as someone who reads a lot, so who to appear more intelligent than others? Or do you choose your books with care in order to learn about certain topics? Do you read to get some knowledge that you can apply or do you read to shine?
Of course, those are not the only options. Maybe you read just to release stress and entertain yourself. Fine. But not a lot of people will read about the latest JS Framework with the purpose of self-entertainment. And here I write about reading non-fictional books.
Think before you pick a book. Why do you read it? Can you think about why and how that book will make you better at something? In what will it make you better? Does that something matter in your life?
Sometimes it’s worth to slow down a bit, read less and think more. Think about what you learnt from the latest book you read and how can you apply that to make your life, to make yourself better. Then think about in which areas of life you want to grow. Choose your next book accordingly. When you read, don’t just rush through the pages, but take your time and think about it. Feel free to take notes and review them after you finished reading. I’d even encourage you to summarize the book either only for yourself or for the readers of your blog. That process will help you retain more information. If you just keep in mind that you will have to write a small summary, you will be more focused.
Reading is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. It’s not your mid-term exams where you have to recite some not-so-much-important theories. It’s about the long-term knowledge that will make better both in your personal and professional life. Slow down and read less, but read with care.