08 Mar Wei’s Wisdom: How to read broadly
I had the pleasure of interviewing Eugene Wei on the Rad Awakenings Podcast. We discussed how he learns, organizes his readings and synthesizes knowledge across disciplines. Don’t miss what he learned from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
1. Read multiple books in parallel
The way I read now is only possible because of the Kindle. I tend to read multiple non-fiction books in parallel. I only came to this later in life and used to be one of those people who read one book cover-to-cover.
2. Create your “interest-based” feed
Now I do this thing that resembles a modern social media feed of content from books, but I’m creating it by just following my interests. I open the Kindle [where I have hundreds of books] and I pick the one that most interests me at the moment, and just tell myself to read at least one full chapter. If it keeps my interest, I keep going for another chapter. But if not, I’ll jump to another book and read a full chapter. You can’t do this with fiction because you tend to lose the train of the plot and narrative, but non-fiction, so little of it is so linearly linked that you can’t disaggregate it in this way.
3. The power of pattern recognition
The reason that I read this way and the advantage is that I start to see patterns across books in different topics. You may be reading one book on astronomy, business strategy, and another on language or rhetoric. Then suddenly something pops up that connects between those. It’s an advantage for me because it lets your interests pull you along rather than self-imposing a deadline to finish a book. And if a book doesn’t interest you, you just abandon it to save time and move to something more interesting.
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