With the advent of e-books and e-book readers (right now I am an avid user of the kindle reader on iPad), my childhood habit of being turned into a bookworm without warning has returned with a vengeance. I am reading several books at the same time, flipping between them as my whim seems to dictate.
The list right right now are: “Cycles of time” by Roger Penrse, “Linked” by Albert-laszio Barabasi, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin (reading for a third time!) and “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. Last week, I finished “the Doors of Perception” by Aldous Huxley for the third or Fourth time.
Although we have an abundance of texts scattered all over the cyberspace now, looking back on my own experience, books remain the significant and perhaps sole life-changer. The duration, concentration, and the sheer synthesis involved in the experience of book reading seems to be an indispensable ingredient of a dramatic change in one’s world views.
For example, “Free to choose” by Milton Friedman that I read when I was about 20 changed my idea about competition and market. I confess probably I am still under the influence of this book. An Albert Einstein biography that I came across at the tender age of 10 (I read the Japanese version as I did not speak English at all at that time) inspired me so much, that I found myself wanting to be a scientist and revolutionize the world conceptually.
Thus, although I do find the timely arrivals of latest news and comments on the web now an essential part of my reading experience (powered, nowadays, by Flipboard), I do keep my insatiable hunger for more books, from all genres.
It is my view that you can look around the world from the vantage height in proportion to all the books that you have read in your life, with all the books stuck on top of each other. Thus, reading a book is an act of building that famous Newtonian giant. You can nurture your own giant by reading books. What a wonderful pet you have on your iPad.
“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
(Isaac Newton in his letter to his Robert Hooke on February 5, 1676)