Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Never Forget Rule About Reading

Of course reading is the best habit on the planet. A man IS what he reads. This is very evident from the fact that children who are exposed to books on atheism or rational thinking grow up as atheists or naturalists and the children who are forced to read the mythological books only most often end up as hard and fast believers.
(Well if you think the above observation is invalid then try that at your own kids. Even if they are a few years too old, when they get to read books like Daniel Dennett's Consciousness Explained they will start telling you thousand reasons why God probably does not exist)
Or leave all that ask a kid doing well in science whether they are/were subscribing to any scientific magazines or weeklies. The answer will most probably be "...for 4 years or so..."

But I know reading is great. I thought you had something else to tell.

Yes, I am coming to it.
This might not happen to everyone. But some people when they find a book interesting, they keep on reading the same kind of books one after another. And they will never be tired, so they will read more and more of the same kind.
Now, that is a problem.
You should NEVER read the same kind of things.
Because reading is supposed to gain you ideas. And when you read the same stuff, may be from the same author or of the same genre, you will end up addicted to the same. Books are all interesting. You may be finding this interesting. But it does not mean that you will not find the other interesting. And may be when you start reading the other you will find that the other is more interesting than this one.
But you never read the other stuff, so you will never know the other side.
It is like always having vanilla shade of ice-cream because you liked it the first time you ate it. Sometimes you may like strawberry much more.

And this is particularly true when you are reading things that may shape your opinion.
For example you read a a book about socialism by Karl Marx (may be Das Kapital).
Socialism is great and Karl Marx will show you why. And that idea will seem interesting to you too.
And then you have two options.
Either go for the Communist Manifesto or for a "Capitalist Manifesto"
If you go for the first you will end up as a biased frog in the well.
But if you go for the latter you will end up learning a lot about both the ideas, about the differences between them, about the pros and cons of each and you can always decide which one is better.
Because when you read only one, unless you are reading from wikibooks, you are hearing from just one side. And you will never know what lies they tell you.

So that is it. Read. And read diverse.

Don't narrow your collection to a single colour.

Make it a point to read an entirely different book after you finish the one you are reading now.
You will end up a lot more.

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