Why books don't work - Deepstash
Why books don't work

Why books don't work

andymatuschak.org

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We don't absorb knowledge by reading words on a page

We don't absorb knowledge by reading words on a page

We take books for granted because we assume people absorb knowledge by reading sentences:“The author describes an idea in words on the page; the reader reads the words; then the reader understands the idea. When the reader reaches the last page, they’ve finished the book.”

This assumption, called Transmissionism is deeply flawed. It's not based on any cognitive model & does not work in preactice for the majority of readers. 

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How to make book work for you

To understand something, you must actively engage with it. This is what happens when books work:

  • Read something, then pause and reflect. Usually the internal monologue may sound like “This idea reminds me of…,” “This point conflicts with…,” “I don’t really understand how…,” etc.
  • Take notes, but don't simply transcribe the author’s words: summarise & synthesise.

These skills fall into a bucket which learning science calls “metacognition.” They are challenging to learn & that many adults lack them. 

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CURATED BY

vladimir

Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.

Andy Matuschak thinks we need to create new mediums for transmitting knowledge and makes a strong argument against books as a medium.

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