I often see advertisements online for subscription services or opportunities to purchase individual summaries of books. This has never appealed to me.
I’ll admit that I made use of Cole’s Notes while in school, but that was for books I didn’t want to read. Today, I get to choose which books I read, and if I choose a book, I want to read it. I don’t want a summary that’s meant to be in place of me reading the book.
I also often see people blogging about tips for reading faster, but what it really is is skimming. Again, that might be fine for a book I have to read, but not for one I want to read.
“Lifehacks” can be like this in a way. These are fast and easy ways of getting things done, which again might be fine for things you don’t want to do and that don’t take a lot of thought, but “fast and easy” rarely gets us “quality and fulfillment”.
There’s a saying in business that you can have something fast and / or cheap, and / or good, but you can’t have all three. I’d go further and say that you can have something fast and cheap, or fast and good, or cheap and good, but if you want great you’re probably going to have to wait, and it won’t be cheap.
We can get a frozen dinner and stick it in the microwave, and it might be good, but it won’t be great.
We can get the summary of a book for a fraction of the cost of buying the entire book, and it might even be good, but it will never be a fulfilling read.
We can Google something to align with our current views and probably find it within a matter of minutes, or we can dig deeper and view sources with a critical eye and careful thought.
We can run for the elevator and push the inside buttons quickly to close the doors on our way because we’re late, or we can hold the “Open” button because we see someone else comings (it may be faster to close it and be on our way, but will you feel good about yourself later?)”
While fast and cheap often gets us something disposable and devalued. Slowing down and thinking may get us something great that we treasure.
Featured image courtesy of Kevin Lim under a CC-BY-NC-SA license.