My name is David Strauß.

I create useful software, write once in a while and run edgy circle.

Reading Too Much, Too Fast - Three Book Diet

Yesterday I came across the Three Book Diet by Eric Davis in which he also points to the original article by Chris Brogan. The idea sounded interesting and made me think about a few things myself. Before I get into too much detail, what is the Three Book Diet?

It is about reading fewer books and really taking your time to think about what you read. Chris Brogan points out the problem better than I could:

”[…] people don’t really work very hard on implementing the lessons of the books we read because we all have this habit of ‘getting it done.’ We finish a book and then move on to the next, as if we are performing some kind of duty. We read, looking for a tiny spark of an idea, a little nugget, but we never sit with it all. We never work to implement it.” Chris Brogan, 2012

He also suggests a solution: Slow down and read only three books in the next year. Start by picking your three books right now and commit yourself to them for the next 365 days. These constraints will allow you to read a book multiple times and put in the work to implement the advice.

While I like the idea, I would make the same change to the rules as Eric Davis did. I can read as many fiction novels as I wish. They are for entertainment only and I don’t spend a lot of thoughts on them anyway.

Apart from the three book diet both articles made me think. They helped me put a finger on an issue I have and help me articulate it. I have an attitude of “getting it done” when it comes to consuming media. It doesn’t matter if I read a magazine, a blog post or a book, the process is the same: I read something and think to myself that this would really help me and yet I manage to continue reading. I tell myself I will get back to this interesting section later but honestly I almost never do.

In the beginning of the year I wrote an article called “How I Remember More From Articles And Books I Read” where I say that I would take notes of whatever I am reading. I implemented my own advice half assed but none the less it showed me another side of the problem.

When I can’t keep up with consuming the amount of interesting media I find via Twitter and Hacker News I start feeling really guilty about it. I start telling myself what great advice could be hidden inside my bookmarks and reading list. All I need to do would be reading a little more, a little faster.

And this is all it needs to bring me back to the “getting it done” fast lane, consuming huge amounts of information without thinking and failing to move forward because I can’t properly implement the advice.

This led me to a few conclusions:

Probably I should put “Information Diet” on my three books list so I can learn to cope with this problem.

Probably I should slow down in general and focus on doing things properly.

Probably I should make sure my three daily visions align with my weekly vision. The same counts for the monthly and yearly visions I have.

All this sounds like another blog post, covering this topic in general and thanks to my “writing 500 words a day” habit this could happen sooner than later.

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