Why you should quit reading paper books

Photo Credit: Paul Morris

According to Pew Internet, 65% of American adults read a print book in the previous twelve months, while only 28% had read an e-book (Kindle, etc.). I believe everyone should quit reading print books almost entirely. The smell, the feel, and the touch of a print book is something I adore, but what I can’t stand is to spend countless hours reading only to have it slowly leak away into irretrievable oblivion.

When you read on Kindle and highlight passages that you find beautiful, interesting, or challenging, you’re sending your future self a hell of a gift, but it doesn’t feel that way until way later. In 2013, I broke up with print and decided to get engaged with my memory instead. Here are a few examples of passages that would have become lost memories:

Dan Simmons, Hyperion Cantos, Book 1

“Mark Twain once opined in his homey way: “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” He was droll but incomplete. During those long months of beginning my Cantos on Heaven’s Gate, I discovered that the difference between finding the right word as opposed to accepting the almost right word was the difference between being struck by lightning and merely watching a lightning display.”

Seth Godin, Linchpin

“The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.”
“Here’s the deal our parents signed us up for: Our world is filled with factories. Factories that make widgets and insurance and Web sites, factories that make movies and take care of sick people and answer the telephone. These factories need workers. If you learn how to be one of these workers, if you pay attention in school, follow instructions, show up on time, and try hard, we will take care of you. You won’t have to be brilliant or creative or take big risks. We will pay you a lot of money, give you health insurance, and offer you job security. We will cherish you, or at the very least, take care of you.”

Robert Greene, Mastery

“all that should concern you in the early stages of your career is acquiring practical knowledge in the most efficient manner possible.”

Cixin Lui, The Dark Forest

“Without the fear of heights, there can be no appreciation for the beauty of high places.”

Isaac Asimov, The End of Eternity

“Out of danger and restless insecurity comes the force that pushes mankind to newer and loftier conquests.”

Christopher Hitchens, Arguably

“The only people who must never have power are the humorless.”

I have thousands of highlights like this. I periodically review a book’s highlights via Kindle’s “notes and highlights” page, but I love to export them to Evernote where I can search my notes. When I’m struggling with an emotion or an idea, I search for the term. For example, if I search “fear,” this is what I get:

Books and the knowledge they contain are some of the most remarkable creations of humanity, but we pay more attention to our Instagram than our favorite ideas — all in favor of our love for feeling paper. I think that’s nonsense, and I hope you will too.

🎉 🍻 ❤️ — Andy

I’d be forever grateful if you’d click💚 below so other people can find this — thanks!