I simply can no longer tolerate blah, blah, blah. I don’t know if my age has anything to do with it, maybe it has been learned from my many hours on the Internet as Tom Friedman suggested in his book Thank You for Being Late. I will have much more to say about this book in a near future post but for now I want to limit my words about it to this current topic of blah, blah, blah.
When I have to read something over 500 words or so I almost immediately start skipping. I didn’t used to be that way. I devoured books in my youth and even in my mid-years. My bookshelf behind me used to be filled with what I read but now 90% of them are gone and replaced with e-books but that is yet another story.
I read somewhere that book publishers tell their authors that they need between 60,000 and 75,000 words in order for them to publish their works. So, what often happens is that someone comes up with a very unique idea that could be thoroughly described in 10,000 and then has to add another 60,000 filler in order to get into people’s hands. Maybe in the past this fact had something to do with the expense of setting up a printing press verses the profit they could accomplish from the work?
Let’s talk a little about the book by Tom Friedman in this vein. The main topic of the book Thank You for Being Late is how the pace of change is increasing at an almost exponential rate in the beginning of the 21st century. One of those changes is the Internet and the resulting availability of instant answers to almost any question. Has that caused our minds to seek a more concise way to learn new knowledge?
I admit that the first source of information I go to for new information is usually Wikipedia. I know that not all the info in that venue has been thoroughly checked for validity but it is a good first check on just about any topic.
I recently did an experiment with one of the books I read. I read the first two pages of each chapter to see what I could glean. I then went back and read the entire book (well actually I skimmed much it) to see how that first look changed. It turns out that it didn’t change all that much. Most of the remaining words of each chapter was either giving examples or maybe stating the original information it in different words. Very little of the overall argument was lost by skipping massive portions of the book.
I know this is not the way to read fictional novels but then again has any of us really read every word of the 1225 page book “War and Peace”. 😉