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Mediations #4: Building A Personal Library
The importance of building a personal library full of unread books.
Recently, I did some book shopping. All the books are related to work: leadership, coaching, behavioral psychology, and dealing with difficult conversations. However, neither the book's details nor how I am going to read them is what I want to talk about here. Today, I want to talk about why I buy books while many others are waiting for me to read.
While buying books, I had one thought in my mind: I need to have resources under my hand whenever I need them. I'm not going to read all these books during the next year or two, or some of them will be unread for years. Although I skim every book I buy to understand what it talks about, I don't think most of the books should be read cover to cover at all. Most of the business books do not deserve more than an hour or two. Yet, we should have them, know what's inside, and take them off the shelf when needed. They are there to learn quickly and get suggestions in specific situations. And that's the essence of building a personal library.
My personal library is there to offer me an escape. It gives me a hand to get out of difficult situations—be it something related to work or personal life. Both fiction and non-fiction books are my way to converse, learn, and widen my perspective. In the books, I can find myself, relate to characters, and develop my personality and professionalism. The library is like no other thing that you can have.
People often compare the internet with books and argue about having everything on the internet. To me, it's like comparing potatoes and grapes; both can feed you, but you need to cook the potatoes first. The high-quality books are like grapes; you can eat one grape without cooking. The internet is like potatoes. You must put in extra work to cook those potatoes. The internet is full of junk, so we have to do more research to validate an idea. I'm not saying that the internet is useless; it's super powerful, but it's also full of garbage, and we have to work through it to find the gems. For books, finding gems is much easier.
I must also admit that 90% of the books are also garbage. However, it's easier to identify them. Even though the book publishing business is ruthless—editors criticize the ideas in a book and make sure that the whole content is sound and clear, it's still much better than the internet. The internet is full of people like you and me, and there isn't any review process. Everyone can write whatever they want wherever they want.
That's why my library is my way of Googling. When I need to learn something, especially about topics like psychology, leadership, philosophy, and business, books are the best way to acquire that information. Many people search for a mentor but can't find one. I found my mentors in the books. They are one step away from my desk and 7/24 available. I will keep growing my library and always have at least 80-90% of the books waiting for someone to read them. But I'm fine with this because I have other plans for these books.
My suggestion to you is to start building your library if you don't have one. If you have one, try to enrich it. That's the most important thing you can do for yourself. Not reading the books is okay. Not every book deserves to be read cover-to-cover. Skim the new books to understand what they are about so you will know where to look later. The good thing is books never complain, and they will be waiting for you when you really need them.
Some Things I Found Great
There are only a few things this time. I don't always find great things online. Saying something great is difficult. Sometimes, I spend my time with crap, and that's okay. Without knowing what's bad, I can't judge what's good.
"It hurts when I argue with reality." is a sentence I heard while meditating using the Calm app, and I took a note.
Finding the World's Loneliest Person — I usually enjoy Yes Theory's videos. This one was special because it reminded me that solitude doesn't mean loneliness. Many people feel lonely while surrounded by people (like I sometimes do), and some people don't feel alone despite living solo in the middle of nowhere.
Strangers Meet Without Seeing Each Other - Pure Impressions Episode 4 — It's an emotional video. It reminds me how everyone has something going on in their lives, and we never learn until we really ask and listen. I not only loved the questions but also admired how deeply and honestly people answered these questions.
Recently, I Thought About
how I can apply second- and third-order thinking more.
While making a decision, I'm trying to remind myself to look at the second and third-order consequences of the decision. Thinking about the immediate consequences of a decision is first-order thinking. First-order thinking is often biased. That's why we need to look at what would be the consequences of consequences of the decision—second-order thinking. So, we take one more step and try to judge the side (and longer-term) effect of a decision. But if the decision is quite important, we need to also think about the third-order consequences. I learned that if I don't set some time aside, I will never think about these things. That's why I decided to change a few things in how I think and work and ensure that I have time for the right things.