T-Shaped Reader

What I’ve Learned From Reading 400 Books

“Your library is your portrait.” — Holbrook Jackson

Like many of you I have different interests and fields I read about.

One thing that’s developed is that I’ve become a T-shaped reader. What this means is that I’ve got a combination of wide and general knowledge while going deep only in a few fields.

What I choose to focus on specifically is creativity, business, and psychology. Everything else is a bonus.

However, I don’t limit myself to those 3 categories. I expose myself to as many fields and genres as I can. You never know what you can learn by reading a book about your garden variety zombie apocalypse or romantic novel.

It’s just not where my main focus is.

It was either this or burning ants.

What I’ve learned by doing this is that no matter what you read you have to combine that knowledge with experience. Read a book, live, read another book, live some more, repeat ad infinitum.

The trick is to talk about these ideas with people and test them out for yourself. You’ll learn a lot more by interacting than by simply having one way communication with a book and playing around with the things in your own mind.

So, my suggestion is to try out whatever catches your eye and giving it a shot. But in my mind quality always wins over quantity.

Once I’ve read about 10 books in any given field or genre I start noticing diminishing returns. What I mean by that is that I start to see the same basic principles and patterns repeating over and over again.

While repetition is a good way to remember information it does become tedious. Be aware that the books you read give you something of value. Don’t bother reading books and articles or watching TV and movies just because you started on them.

Your time will be better spent on other things you actually enjoy and get something out of.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned about reading?

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