To Skim or Not to Skim

Kyle, a friend of mine here at Fuller said:

"Something I will never do is skim or speed read. To me, it is the most nefarious and detestable act a person can commit! God has to shun this type of behavior. It is just so immoral and destructive for the world..." (Read the rest of his post here.)

And I replied with:

"If ideas were precious, and books contained high quality material, I might agree with you. But as a rule, they don't. Of course there's always the exception to the rule, in which case i agree with you, but those exceptions are few are far between.

Furthermore, there are more important things in life than the latest bright shiny thought on display at a local book store near you, one countered by a dozen other bright shiny thougts, all for $19.99 each. (if your lucky) I could keep going on this $19.99 theme, but then I would be guilty, (or maybee I already am) of the same pontificating I prefer to skim.

But that's just me, you love what you do kyle, and there's nothing wrong with that. Keep up the good work."


Kyle said...

"If Ideas were precious, and books contained high quality material..."

What I think is most insightful about any book is that it comes from some perspective, some context, some identity, that is important for me to know of or about because someday I might be in conversation with some person like that. So maybe its not all about the transference of information to head knowledge (which is what most people read books for) but the encounter with the individual, the context, the perspective, that is so unique yet so prevalent in the world in which we are engaging in.

The main trajectory I intended to take was, if books are a necessary medium for preparation and knowledge in our field than why skim over them?

You make a good point if my notion of a book was an object of information - but I am not convinced it is. It is an object in the literal sense but its life and purpose is more of a subject to be engaged and dialogued with.

Thanks for refining my thinking...

David Best said...

I hear ya man, good points.

solarblogger said...

Kyle's point is well taken, but might actually support skimming. Even if books are not mere vessels of information, some books may be better at communicating a distinct perspective, context, and identity than others. I would want to skim the ones that sound like everyone else so I could get to the more distince voices.