Why I read, speed read and spd rdng?
Many successful people are avid readers and speed readers such as Bill Gates who releases an annual list of his favourite books every year or Barack Obama who said that reading helped him survive his two terms as President.
Over the years many books and authors have inspired me and changed the course of my life (thousands and thousands of books – I’ve lost count). I read for knowledge and wisdom as well as for pleasure (I am a bookaholic). The key difference between knowledge and wisdom is that wisdom has better longevity and is possibly timeless as opposed to knowledge which as has an expiration date or if you like, it’s updated all the time. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ (prevention is better than cure) was relevant 100 years ago and probably will be relevant 100 years from now on. On the other hand, human understanding that the Earth was flat didn’t last long. Also, as an expert in some fields, I read for difference and new information, since difference gives me new learning, as opposed to reading for sameness which only increases my understanding and confirms what I already know. Some books have transformed my life to a new level and some books only clarified my existing life and made it better. We need both: understanding (repetition, sameness) and learning (difference, new). For example, Zen transformed my life because as a child and teenager I had no idea about such a domain and it expanded and increased my consciousness and my freedom as well as boosted my creativity. Books by Gilles Deleuze have transformed my life by making me a better thinker. On the other hand, books by Yuval Noah Harari clarified and confirmed my existing understanding – in a better, more concise way. (When I just mention authors, I’ve read all their books and books about their books as well – I did mention I’m a bookaholic, right?)
My timeless books list
I’m speed reading some of these timeless (for me) books, from time to time – not all but, just thin-slicing some of them again.
Fairy Tales by Grimm Brothers and any other fairy tales (when I was a child)
Sherlock Holmes (When I was a child 8-11, Sherlock was my mentor and teacher training me in deductive thinking. Mastermind by Maria Konnikova is the book about that kind of thinking if you want to think like Sherlock Holmes which I highly recommend.)
Teoria i metodyka ćwiczeń relaksowo-koncentracyjnych / Theory and Methodology of Relaxation-concentration Exercises compilation by Wiesław Romanowski (this was my first book on personal development I read when I was about 11 and it’s about the importance of relaxation as a way of dealing with stress and about meditation, autogenic training and Zen)
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
Cybernetyka i charakter (Cybernetics and Character) by Prof Marian Mazur (This book I read several times when I was 14 and didn’t understand it, because I haven’t developed my mathematical intelligence enough but when I picked this book again when I was 15, I got it immediately. It’s about systems thinking and neurofeedback and presents a cybernetic theory of human character. The key argument is that our ‘character’ (not to be confused with the psychological term ‘personality’ relating to symptoms of human behaviour, not its source) cannot be changed by compulsion or persuasion or even self-persuasion. Therefore, in order to establish conformity between one’s character and one’s situation the only possibility (according to cybernetics) is to change the situation or environment, not the character, which is now been confirmed by genetics. Prof Mazur was nominated for the Nobel prize for his work and that’s why I got interested in this discipline at that young age.)
Poe, Musil, Kafka (from the age of 12 to 15 I was reading lots of literature by Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and similar)
Huna by Max Freedom Long (At 14 I was reading everything that was mind-expanding, extraordinary and about unlimited human potential. Huna was very trendy at that time in Poland.)
Introduction to Zen Buddhism by DT Suzuki (when I was 17, this book enlightened me to spirituality beyond Catholic religion)