In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you. -Mortimer J. Adler, philosopher, educator and author (1902-2001)
This summer I bought a Kindle: I succumbed only to reconcile the conflict between how many books I can read in two weeks and the weight of luggage allowed on most airlines! I loved it from the moment I unpacked it. More interestingly, my reading habits have changed. I didn’t expect that.
I am trying to decide whether I am more or less discerning about what I read. The jury is still out.
What I do know is that I can get hold of information that I need much more quickly and not just books. PDFs of articles and research papers can easily be turned into ‘Kindle ready documents’ via the free conversion service which is almost instant. Just email the pdf to your Kindle email address with ‘convert’ in the subject line.
However, the most compelling feature for me, which beats even the speed of delivery, is the clippings feature. I can mark a passage and that passage is saved in my clippings folder, fully referenced. This has not only added ease and efficiency to my work and writing, it has reduced my stress levels. Now, I can mark up ideas and organise them so that when I need them I can find them and I can include the proper attribution.
Making a proper attribution or giving credit for great work is deeply important to me. I know how hard it is to organise thoughts and write them down so they will stand scrutiny. I will hunt high and low for the part of the book which has influenced me – even if I have developed or reworked the idea. However, given the number of books and articles I read, it is sometimes a struggle to remember where and by whom. I will include a book rather than leave it out, if I am not sure.
I write to encourage people to think more deeply about what we do and why we do it. I am deeply appreciative of those who have worked hard to clarify their own thoughts to the point that it has real relevance for me and I want to thank them. I do get fed up with people who partly rework my articles and research and don’t mention the contribution that I have or anyone else has made to their thinking or teaching.
I can’t do anything about the behaviour of others but I can make sure I am better at doing it myself.