Why read? My thought:
Reading is one of the best and direct creative stimuluses we can do in order to improve and quicken our own thinking.
I’m against the notion of “reading for the sake of reading”. Reading which doesn’t quicken you or spur you to action is bad.
What should I read?
Only read what is fun, interesting, and challenging to you.
There is no such thing as “good”or “bad”literature or books. Only interesting or boring.
Reading to inspire you
Apparently Alexander the Great traveled on his military campaigns with a copy of the Iliad and Odyssey. Perhaps he got inspiration from the heroes in Homer, in order to embolden his own actions.
Read what motivates you to action
There seems to be two types of reading:
Reading which inspires and emboldens you, and reading which pacifies you.
I like Thucydides who wrote in the introduction to his “History of the Peloponnesian War”:
I write this history to inspire future generations of humanity.
The sucker mistake people have in history is this preoccupation with facts and “truth”. No. History doesn’t have much of a duty to be “factually accurate”— it is about documenting human strength and valor, in order to inspire virtue to future generations of humans.
Stop reading once it gets boring
I’m currently reading some essays from Ralph Emerson Waldo, but I like to skim, skip around, and only read which interests me. I think it is silly to try to read everything for the sake of it. As readers, we must be insanely selective. And use your own gut to guide yourself in terms of what is interesting to you. And once a text bores you, either skip ahead, skim further (until it gets interesting), or stop reading the book altogether and move onto a new book which actually does interest you.
The way we have been trained to read in school is bad. It presupposes that there are “good”and “bad”reading practices. This is silly. You must discover the reading practices which resonate with YOU, not with our stiff (and insecure) schoolteachers.
Some of my favorite reads:
- Iliad by Homer (keep searching until you find a translation which you like).
- Antifragile by Nassim Taleb (and Skin in the Game)
- The Will to Power by Nietzsche (and The Gay Science)
There’s a trillion things you can read, but my tip:
Stick to the classics.
There are few (if any) modern books published in the last 150 years which are of any interest (besides Nassim Taleb).
Ancient Greek and Roman poetry is great. Reading the Iliad is 1000x more fun and entertaining than any modern movie (besides perhaps John Wick).
Writing notes while reading
What I do on iPad:
Read in “split screen” mode, and write notes in IA WRITER of certain phrases which I like, or points I find inspiring.
Digital or analogue?
I prefer reading ebooks (.epub format, or PDF) on my iPad. Why?
First of all, all these old school texts and books are mostly available online for free (Project Gutenberg).
Secondly, weight. I’m mostly on the road, and I cannot bear extra weight in books.
Third, I prefer iPad over Kindle because I can actually write notes as I read. Also the default iBooks App is excellent.
My simple suggestion is to just experiment. And don’t think that there is a “superior”mode of reading. Strive to discover YOUR own personal preferences when it comes to reading!