How Reading Incorrectly Ruin Your Mind

Summary – Spoon-Feeding Effect of Reading

For the record, I love reading. Always have and always will. There’s no substitute to reading. It is the only portal to knowledge. If you want knowledge and wisdom, reading is the way to go. I’m not debating this so rest assured that you are not going to read about the benefit of reading today.

However, there is one side effect of reading that you really must know. If I can name it, I will call it Spoon-Feeding Effect of Reading. It is when you read a book, and you just believe and absorb everything you just read without ever drawing any conclusion from it.

For example, John is reading a book about politics. As we all know, the political stand of the author will always be mirrored in a book about politics. John had absorbed everything he read from the book that he is now an exact clone of the author when it comes to political stand.

This is one of the side effect of reading that you must know before attempting to read anything. You must never absorb everything the author wrote and make it your opinion.

You may ask, “what harm can this do?”. Well quite a lot actually. You could end up with these effects.

  • No creativity – How creative can you be if you are nodding to everything the author gave you.
  • Non-critical mind – You will need critical mind, when it comes to making good decision or brainstorming.
  • Lazier mind – The mind is like any other muscle in your body. You exercise them, it gets stronger. Vice versa.
  • No individuality – Have you ever met a person, and you notice immediately that he is different from the rest of us. He stands out naturally. That is because he is not a clone of anyone.

Reading will always be the best way to learn. But you should also know the best way to read. What you should consider when reading a book are as follows:

  • Read the book.
  • Try to grasp the message in the book.
  • Search your mind for your own opinion about the topic at hand.
  • Compare notes between the message and yours. The author can’t be always right and he can’t also be always wrong.
  • Draw your own conclusion to the matter.

You may find these steps very simple, but you will be surprised to know that almost all readers fail to practise them. It is always easier to take the author’s word for it.

Conclusion

Books and blogs are usually written by smart people. And the readers are usually very keen to learn more about the subject from these smart people. What better way to be smarter than to learn it from smart people. You just need to make it a habit to develop your own conclusion from anything you read.

Your conclusion can be wrong. It can also turn out to be a smarter approach. What ever it is, it will always be yours. Nothing beats that.

– I wonder –
Besides fiction, what other types of books do you read?

———— Personal Note —————
I remember when I was a child, people often asked what my hobby was? I will then answered almost immediately, “Reading”. I guess reading was just the easiest answer or maybe I knew that people will stop asking when you answered “Reading”.

Photo Credit – Lin Pernille

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This post has 10 comments.


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  1. 16 Nov 08 6:18 pm

    I don’t read many non-fiction books. Those I read are about self-organization and time management. But I read a big German weekly newspaper called “Die Zeit”. And the things you wrote in your blog posts apply there as well.

  2. 16 Nov 08 6:52 pm

    1) I love the way u put your sentences there…
    ‘Books and blogs are usually written by smart people.
    the word ‘usually’ fits the current world just fine.
    cause there are some ‘clueless’ people writing books and blogs.
    (Mostly blogs cause they wont publish books from a ‘clueless’ author heheh)

    2) Underage version:
    ‘what is your hobby banji?’
    ‘reading’
    ‘good banji, reading is a good hobby’
    End of conversation, teacher move on to the next student

    Adult version:
    ‘So Pocket, what do u do in your free time?’
    ‘reading’
    ‘owh! reading!? any recent books u’ve read?’
    ‘aaaa.. err, hummm… that aaaa… ‘
    (This would be my answer^^ cause i never read anything popular lately)

    wahahahaah,

    Yes, not taking everything written in the book would be better,
    but u have to be an experienced reader to do that,
    most of us are beginner in reading. (Well, atleast i am)
    and we kept taking the facts written regardless of
    its reliability.

    How to know which is the truth and which is conspiracy?
    heheh, but i know Harry potter is a fantasy:) that’s for sure

  3. 16 Nov 08 9:37 pm

    Ulla Hennig – Yup, the point can definitely be applied to newspaper as well. There are newspapers out there that are biased towards a certain group and taking it all in from just one newspaper will make you very biased to the group as well.

    Thanks for sharing Ulla

    Pocket – 1) There’s a saying, blind people leading the blind. That can never be good. That is why it is very dangerous to follow a person’s ideas blindly.

    2) I guess that conversation is bound to happen. At least now we can maybe prepare a list of books just to entertain them. Even though, it is always better to actually read the book. :)

    3) About having to be an experienced reader, I think in the end, we usually will have some ideas about the book we read. Even if we don’t have anything basic we can still let the ideas float in our head. Come to think about it, even history books are rewritten every now and then.

  4. 19 Nov 08 6:59 am

    Howdy fellow Notepad user. Was updating my notepad post and came across your comment again, so I thought I’d drop by and see how you are doing.

    Good post. Totally true and very accurate about how many people will read. Most people are sheep, we all follow the herd mentality and follow along with events and agree with the majority. Its good to just read a fantasy book and escape sometimes, and believing in that fantasy world 😉

  5. 23 Nov 08 11:40 pm

    Hey Banji,

    I think it’s amazing how influential a good writer can be and how it can be extremely difficult to avoid adopting the same opinion as the author. This is especially true when you know very little about the topic. For example, I stopped eating beef when that whole mad cow disease scare erupted in the US. I read a few articles written by scientists about the impacts and all of the studies and pretty soon I was paranoid. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing what you read. Great post!

  6. 24 Nov 08 8:36 pm

    I never thought that reading incorrectly can ruin my mind, but after reading your article i should think about that….

  7. 26 Nov 08 6:20 pm

    FrugalNYC – Howdy to you too. I remember you from ZenHabits :)

    Fantasy books are interesting. We can totally escape into it, knowing that we can get out from there anytime we want.

    Steve C – Hm.. that’s another way to look at it. We may have been paranoid about things and when the book we read fortify that paranoia, it just worsen.

    The only way we can tackle such problem is by reading more. Hopefully we will have enough information then to conclude ourselves what’s believable and what’s not.

    Mark – Thank you for reading Mark

  8. 04 Dec 08 1:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing your ideas about reading. It is well said that’ reading makes a man perfect’. One should not be a blind believer of what he comes to know from the author of the book. An analysis is must. Posts reading tips are more suitable to higher education students. A good idea for the students!

  9. 04 Dec 08 5:11 pm

    Promotional Products – Yup, an analysis is always a must. Thank you for reinforcing the idea :)

  10. jon
    25 Oct 11 11:06 pm

    How about spoon feeding reading

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