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This is my personal blog which I began in February 2001. I called it The Obvious? when I wrote anonymously and chose the name to reflect the fact I have to overcome my inhibitions about stating the obvious!

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Advice I should heed ...

… from the very smart Steve Chandler:


It isn't how many books you read, it's how many you apply.

You are better off, therefore, reading one book four times than reading four books one time each. Most people try to accumulate knowledge.

But it doesn't accumulate, it makes you fat and paralyzed. A friend recently told me of 100 books to read.

Rather tell me the ONE BOOK I should read 100 times. The difference is between a life that is changed, and a life that is weighed down with heavy immobilizing knowledge.

Reader Comments (6)

Boy, that's a tough road to hoe. I have probably about fifty books that are constant re-reads — not only does new experience get filtered back through them, but the re-reading is a "reset" to keep me on track.

But not only does a life in research form the habit of constantly adding to the pile of new material to read, so too does an active mind. A decade ago I wasn't reading much on biology, ecology, ecosystems, etc., for instance, but there's generally one title in that space in my stack of five to eight "current books" at any point in time. (Then, too, what of all our RSS feeds, from whence came this post?)

Focus is an amazing thing, and periodically re-rooting yourself is a good idea. But one also needs to broaden out constantly (or else you miss the turns life throws at you). I say you need both: some re-reads, and some new ones.

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Stewart

You are right of course but my purchasing constantly outstrips my reading and I should read many of my books again.

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEuan

I agree - but isn't rereading something a discipline in itself? It almost doesn't matter what you reread. Rather than race through books, hungry for more, rereading means you have to meditate on them. You notice more, you make more connections. That discipline is valuable in itself, I think. Whatever the content.

Of course, when the content is good too, magic happens.

August 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPiers

Kind of like slow food rather than gluttony maybe?


August 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEuan

Amen .. more or less.

I'm with Bruce. There's a core of books I re-read (seemingly more slowly each time). They are mainly about philosophy, political economics and history.

And, as with Bruce, the field covered by my reading seems to change over time .. I used to read lots of management / leadership / org change & effectiveness books, but after they all started to look and feel the same, I stopped. I doubt I've missed much since.

I also like Scandinavian and British crime / detective novels to breeze through as a way of engaging in some distraction.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon Husband

Yes my reading changes over time - just need to make more of the ideas stick!

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEuan

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