Nineteen year old internet entrepreneur and author (I was making pizza at Chicken Chef when I was nineteen) Ben Casnocha reveals how he thinks about books:
First, we all learn and input information differently. For me, visually reading words is effective. Second, notwithstanding my admiration for Jeff Jarvis‘ crusade to digitize journalism efforts, I disagree with him that a book is outdated in today’s link-enabled world. True, a book is not interactive. However, for topics that require more serious thinking, or topics for which a comprehensive overview is more efficient than several shorter articles, a book wins. It’s a wonderful learning tool for some, and winning in the 21st century has much to do, I would argue, with life-long learning. On the fiction side, the case for a book is less compelling, especially if you read fiction books for entertainment value alone. Since I enjoy language and words, I still derive suitable entertainment (and intellectual) value from fiction. Also, it is reading fiction when you are more apt to explore interior dimensions….
Casnocha is coming at reading from a totally different than me but I think, essentially, we feel the same way about reading. Do I think about “winning in the 21st century” when I’m picking out books? No, not really. It depends on how you define winning. So, let me try again. Am I concerned about getting ahead? No. Am I concerned about living a complete, virtuous life and being a whole man? Despite how lame that sounds, yes. These thoughts go through my mind when I pick out books and when I read.
Check out Ben Casnocha’s photo at the top of this post then check out mine on my profile page. See any resemblance? No? Good, your eyes are working, there is none. Yet, strangely, we have similar advice:
I always read with a pen in hand. For non-fiction, I highlight and underline. For fiction, I highlight cool phrases or ideas. It’s amazing how focused you become when holding a pen.
That’s good advice. Myself, I usually use an envelope or tri-folded piece of paper for a bookmark and mark it up with notes and quotations using the pens that are always laying around my typical reading spots. I just started this habit last year. I recommend it.