Why read books? – Synaps open-source
CLAIMING TO READ BOOKS is on the way to becoming an admission of idleness. Who can make time, with relentless pressure at work combined with a busy personal life? Why bother in the first place, when we can access information instantaneously, and already sift through ample written content in the form of reports, articles, posts, and text messages? The couple of hours we could devote daily to serious reading, we might as well use to get a life. If it’s a matter of entertainment, relaxation, or even general culture, there are fun museums, great websites, excellent documentaries and a host of leisure activities that will do the trick. Put simply, books are generally hard to write, hard to read, and hard to sell—so what the heck?
The all-encompassing answer is that hard is beautiful. A great book is an author’s lifetime accomplishment, a long but nonetheless distilled and purified version of his or her experience, intellectual depth and creativity. Conferences, interviews, summaries and other derivative products are but a shadow of the full-fledged work. Indeed, publishing forces an author to give his or her thinking the best possible shape and texture—a demanding exercise that brings out the best in them, too. Naturally, not all books are great, calling for ruthless selection. Shunning the better kind, however, amounts to depriving oneself of some the most enriching moments we can hope for in our own lifetimes.