Daily Archives: September 9, 2009

I Am Not That Kind of Person

For years, I was not the kind of person who read a book twice. I never watched a movie twice either.

There are huge advantages to re-reading a book. Every time I wrote an essay, it required multiple readings in order to fully understand the concepts. It’s impossible to close-read on the first pass. I’d re-read passages, zero in on paragraphs, re-read those, and then re-read sentences. My understanding would begin as a sketch, and then I’d have a drawing, and then a full-color image. Each pass fills in more detail. Each read would create a fuller understanding.

I’m good at skimming. When I read through something quickly, I’m good at picking out what’s important, or whatever I think is most useful to me. I can understand a concept before I fully understand all its inner workings and implications. It’s a great skill, and it has helped me through so many classes. But in order to understand something in a meaningful manner, it requires deeper readings. It’s the difference between making a machine work, and then taking it apart and understanding how it works.

My odd aversion to multiple readings has retarded my ability to deeply understand concepts. Granted, it’s not as if I never do this. As I said, my essay-writing required multiple readings. However, in the studying I’ve been doing for self-improvement, I haven’t re-read my source material enough. I sometimes breeze through books before I make a conscious effort to apply the concepts to my life. There are a lot of concepts I understand, but I need to dig deeper.

It’s bizarre to think that I would consider an aversion to multiple readings as an integral part of my personality. Yet I have many personality quirks that I cling to for no reason. They may also be holding me back. It’s time to, at the very least, toss aside one label and become a person who reads books multiple times.

I just bought The 50th Law. For the rest of the month, this is my bible. I can read other books, but I’ll read from this everyday. I’ll make an effort to master the concepts.