I think the moral of the story is in the quote at the end. The goal isn’t reading for reading’s sake. The goal is the assimilation of information and the transformation of said information into knowledge that can be applied in subsequent endeavours.
Personally, I don’t read to be good at small talk during dinner parties. I read to live a meaningful life.
To quote Albert Camus: “Life is the sum of all your choices”.
For me, a meaningful life stems from making good choices. Being well-informed drives good choices. Reading books is one way to get there. But dare I say in today’s world it certainly isn’t the only one. Books are still an essential source for shaping your mind, but they shouldn’t be seen as the only way. Today’s world is so rich in stimuli that can effectively augment the experience of reading books. What matters in the end is building a reflective mindset that makes the most of the information it acquires.
So what makes Alan Kay Alan Kay isn’t the number of books he’s read, it’s the kind of books he’s read and the insights and learnings he drew from them.