Skim reading is the new normal. The effect on society is profound | Maryanne Wolf by Maryanne Wolf (the Guardian)
Ziming Liu from San Jose State University has conducted a series of studies which indicate that the “new norm” in reading is skimming, with word-spotting and browsing through the text. Many readers now use an F or Z pattern when reading in which they sample the first line and then word-spot through the rest of the text. When the reading brain skims like this, it reduces time allocated to deep reading processes. In other words, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings, to perceive beauty, and to create thoughts of the reader’s own.

I think it might be too late for some of us. Time to reconsider books?

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The truth is that when you’re super bored, your interest and understanding come to a screeching halt. There are many, many topics that I find interesting now which I found dull at some point in my life. Five years ago, there was no possible way I would have made it through The Power Broker, even if I tried to force myself. And it would have been a mistake to try.

Here’s another unspoken truth: Any central lesson you can take away from War and Peace can also be learned in other ways if that book doesn’t really interest you. The same goes for 99% of the wisdom out there — it’s available in many places. Unfortunately, too many English lit professors have promoted the idea that “the classics” contain some sort of unique unobtanium of wisdom. Sorry, but that’s bullshit.

The better idea is to read what seems awesome and interesting to you now and to let your curiosities grow organically. A lifelong interest in truth, reality, and knowledge will lead you down so many paths, you should never need to force yourself to read anything unless there is a very, very specific reason. (Perhaps to learn a specific skill for a job.)

This has been a truth for me for a long time. I don’t like Shakespeare. Being told I need to read the “classics” to be cultured and smart always felt like bullshit to me. I prefer the works of H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Allan Poe, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, and Arthur C. Clarke. I found more connection with the characters and places of those tales than any character in any so-called “literary classic”.

saturday, man, reading, paper

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James Shelly:

Be careful what you wish for. The gleeful agreement of the masses is no less perilous than the mass polarization of opinion.James Shelly

I “discovered” MacDown via a link to Offscreen Dispatch while reading a post by /home/kOoLiNuS.

MacDown is an open source Markdown editor for macOS, released under the MIT License. It is heavily influenced by Chen Luo’s Mou.Tzu-ping Chung

Social media may be making me miserable.

One recent study examined the links between Facebook use and wellbeing. “We found that the more you use Facebook over time, the more likely you are to experience negative physical health, negative mental health and negative life satisfaction,” says study author Holly Shakya, assistant professor and social media researcher at the University of California, San Diego.Markham Heid

John Saddington

Mastery takes incredible patience and it’s a commitment to invest continually over a long period time that really brings it all together in the end. Finally, I think it’s worth noting that I believe that very few people will do this intentionally but I think it’s intent that can make the biggest difference.John Saddington

Job interview:

“I am a bit worried,” I said, “about the whole idea of relentlessly driving down supplier costs just so that people on the internet can buy marginally cheaper consumer goods.”

Silence.

I’d like to think that my question rocked him to his core, made him reconsider his life up to this point, caused him to abandon principles he never knew he held. In reality, he was probably making a this-guy-is-an-idiot face to his coworkers on the other end of the line.

“Well, if you feel that way, our organisation might not be a good fit for you.” He hung up and it was over.

Chris Bowler:

We don’t memorize facts any more, partly because there are so many of them available and partly because they’re right at our fingertips. And maybe the problem is not our desire to recall information or find stimulation, but that we’re still limited to accessing this information through clumsy fingers and glass screens. Perhaps once the information is wired through a neural network straight to our grey matter and the facts and details are accessible the second the thoughts come to our mind, this will be a non-issue. There will be no offline.

Thank you:

We all have someone, or some people, who helped bring us to where we are. Their voices are the ones in our head when we know we can think a bit more deeply, or be kinder to the barista, or do some kind of thing that, ultimately, will make us better.

Whether it’s a partner who cheers you on or a dog who gives you a lovely lick when you get home, figure out who makes what you do worthwhile — and give them a big thanks.gaping void

Ula.

Sure, you still have to go to work every day, and you’ve got plenty of responsibilities, but even the busiest person has at least a little free time, and you have no excuse for spending it being bored. The truth is, it’s more likely that you’re not bored, you’re boring.Ula

Every Saturday, I share a list of inspiring or interesting articles that I read during the week. Here’s what I read this week.

Montgomery Township, New Jersey, United States of America