Reading and Getting Closer to the Source

In an age where bite-sized content is continually generated and immediately available, it can be hard not to consume it. Whether the fix is email, social media, news, web articles, it is hard to combat that sweet, sweet dopamine release as we search for new information.

When it comes to reading articles, I’ve sworn by Pocket for 3 years there are 2000 articles in my archive to prove it. I even re-mixed my feed into a podcast.

Despite the quantity I have realised that my reading can be functional rather than effective and lacking in satisfaction. I think there are a few reasons for this including reading to reduce the backlog of saved articles and choosing the wrong type of articles to read.

It can be very hard to curate your reading with the link bait culture that we live in. The internet also gives a platform for everyone to give their opinions. And there’s a lot we can learn from them and the experience of others - that’s part of the beauty of it. However, I’ve decided that in order to get more value out of my reading, I’m going to tackle this in two ways:

  1. Read more research papers.

    There’s nothing wrong with learning on the shoulders of others, detached from the source. In fact, most of our knowledge is developed in this manner. It’s a process that requires trust of the source which sometimes can be misplaced but it’s not feasible to question everything.

    That being said, I want to take the opportunities that I have to read in greater depth on subjects that interest me. This will be a challenge as research papers are longer, more complex and so require more focus to truly digest. That’s where the value is.

  2. Writing down my thoughts on a subject after consuming.

    This doesn’t mean that I have to publish a blog post on the subject. Nor would I consider myself authoritative at this point. The practice of formulating my thoughts on paper, much as I’m doing now, is for my own benefit. It can be difficult to organise thoughts without them being confirmed out loud or on paper.

So, let’s see how this goes.

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