Shots of Wit

A regular posting of witticisms, aphorisms, and general musings by Clifford Cohen.

Understanding first…

It is more important to understand the book you are reading than to finish the book you are reading.

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Get it done. Tick off each item in that list. Read that book, so you can talk about it at your next dinner party. In my opinion, it is better to read a single book and truly grasp its meaning than to read 10 books, just so that you can say that you read them. Of course there is a lot of ground in the middle of these two extremes.

Naturally, this aphorism doesn’t apply only to reading books. Perhaps it is just my proclivity, but I tend to favor depth over breadth (could you tell?). That is a bias of mine, but I am guessing that many would agree with the idea that more meaningful advancement is made, and more appreciation is gleaned, when we take the time to truly understand a subject with all its nuances.

Some people can do both—consume information fast and understand in depth. I am awed by such people. Nevertheless, I doubt they get any more satisfaction out of such instant command of a subject as I get out of accomplishing a similar level of understanding, albeit at a slower pace. We’ll never be able to read through every book in the library anyway…

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