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Page Turners or No

Thursday 3 September 2020 - Filed under Default

Over the past two years, I’ve become better educated on attention. The “Attention Economy” was ahead of its time but is very much what drives a lot of product design today. If tech had its way, we’d spend all of our time on their sites, viewing ads, getting deeper into the funnel and pulling others in with us. Thankfully we’re not total bots.

Some of us have realized how it made us feel when we spent too much time reading news, social media posts, and comments. It was thinking about attention that led me to pick up Deep Work, then the follow-on Digital Minimalism. These books helped me be more intentional about my time and to prioritize media that encouraged longer-form thought like books and podcasts.

This year, I made it a goal to read more books then ever, often having a few going at once. When I stalled out on a book, I wondered if there was some key to keep on reading. Then I recalled a quote, I think on Twitter (yes, I still find time for that), that said if you don’t like a book, don’t use it as an excuse to stop reading, but switch to something else. It is through trying to read more, that I’m finding what I really like to read, not in a “I like books about (subject)” sense but, what sorts of books read themselves.

This is very important. Instead of buying a book and slogging through it no matter what, pay attention to whether it really grabs you. A good book can practically read itself. A good book doesn’t send your mind into daydreams that make you re-read page after page. Thought fishing can be interesting but meditation is better for that than a boring book.

After finding several of these you may find a theme. Maybe it’s an author, maybe it’s a subject, maybe it’s a kind of story, or a way of presentation that just does it for you. It’s like finding a key to a lock you didn’t know existed.

So that’s what I’m doing now. Finding books that read themselves, and not being afraid the abandon the others. Life’s too short for one, and this process is so much fun I had to share it.

2020-09-03  »  David Sterry

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