This article is from WeChat official account:Mr. L said (ID: lxianshengmiao) , author: Lachel, the original title: “on reading, you probably never thought of a few questions,” title from the chart: the movie “Inglourious Basterds”

Today, I want to talk to you about the topic of “reading”.

I am often asked by readers:

  • You know so much, do you spend a lot of time studying every day?

  • How many books do you read in a year? How to choose these books?

  • How many books do you need to read to become a good person like you?

Some readers ask: If you have such a rich thinking style and thinking tools, what books do you need to read to learn?

First of all, thank you very much for your love and shame.

But these questions often confuse me:

Why do so many friends think that thinking, knowledge, methodology… these things can be learned by reading?

Of course, reading is a good thing, there is no doubt about it, and I have no idea to deny it.

But taking reading as a “panacea” and trying to solve all problems through reading is actually a mentality of pursuing shortcuts.


Why do you say that? Because in my entire growth system, reading is actually not that important-it only occupies a small part of it.

What does this growth system look like? I briefly outlined it and shared it with you:

This model is adapted from David Kolb’s “Cooper Learning Circle”. I roughly divide it into three pillars: practice, thinking and theory.

Simply put: to gain experience from practice, to reflexively summarize and refine these experiences, to raise them in dimension, conceptualize, and become a more abstract thinking model and methodology. Then use these models and methodologies to guide practice, compare the differences between the old model and the new model, and get feedback from them.

Then, through active and targeted learning, we expand our cognitive boundaries and introduce new and cutting-edge theories to standardize and improve these scattered thinking models, and further make them more systematic…

It’s roughly such a process.

A practical example.

About 2014, I proposed an “INKP knowledge management method” in my article (also called INK at the time). In the past few years, there have also been Repeatedly introduced. Where did this method come from? Was it extracted after I read a certain book? no.

It’s source was about 10 years at the earliest. When I reflected on the notes I accumulated over the years, I found that a lot of information was simply piled up together and became a stockpiled stock, which was not really internalized by me. Knowledge-So, through thinking, I found: Knowledge must be allowed to flow before it can create value.

Later, after being exposed to psychology and neuroscience, I discovered that the brain is actually a huge conceptual network. Therefore, the storage of knowledge should actually be the same as the brain, a huge network that can be called and connected anywhere.

Afterwards, I studied GTD and discovered that many of the ideas and concepts of GTD can be applied to knowledge management, So I tried to migrate it in.

Afterwards, I came into contact with system theory and cybernetics, and introduced concepts such as “frame”, “system”, “power-resistance”…

Like this, in the process of continuous practice, thinking, and refinement, one by one introduces the practices and ideas of others, and keeps the ones that can be used; and changes the ones that are incompatible. Slowly, a simple but effective process was formed. This is the knowledge management method of INKP.

Behind it is actually my own accumulation of years of practice, thinking and learning.

So, when I introduced this method before, many readers who did not understand these backgrounds might have questions:

  • What is the difference between this method and XXXX?

  • Isn’t this thing XXXX?

  • ……

Actually, many of these questions just stay on the surface. They “look” almost the same, they are all making cards and taking notes… But in fact, the problems they are trying to solve, the principles they are based on, the ideas for solving the problems, and the effects they want to achieve are likely to be completely different.

This is what I have repeatedly emphasized in previous articles: We need to know know-how, but more importantly, we must know know-why, that is, “where does it come from and why it exists”.

Back to our topic.

This is a process of self-growth. The problems encountered in practice provide raw materials for your thinking growth. Through thinking and summarizing, you expand your thinking toolbox and enable yourself to deal with more complex problems. In this process, theoretical study provides you with strong support, allowing you to avoid many detours and integrate your own experience more effectively.

Summarize with a concept I often talk about, which is: “Take me as the main and use it for me”.


So, where is the place of reading in this self-growth system?

It is an integral part of “theory”, and it is nothing more than that. In fact, reading can’t replace practice. Its biggest role is to provide guidance for your practice and provide a systematic norm for your way of thinking.

Actually, as more and more books are read, the proportion of “reading” in the pillar of “theory” has been declining for me in recent years.

I actually don’t read much now. Instead, I read a lot of literature and use literature to get the most cutting-edge research results.

Why? Because most books on the market have three types of problems.

1) Information is lagging behind. The content in the book is out of date, or has been denied and overturned.

For example, based on the theory of “self-loss”, the book on willpower and self-control (self-loss has been basically abandoned in academia, see: the so-called Willpower may not exist at all).

For example, a series of books about learning, such as Gladwell’s “Alien”, and “The Way of Learning”, “Deliberate Practice”, and so on.

(The ten thousand hours law has long been denied, and the other books are somewhat lagging behind.)

Another example: In some fast-developing fields, many books are actually “outdated as soon as they come out.” Because the content in the book is often conservative, the author hopes that they will pass the test of time-it is easy to lag the latest research by more than 10 years.

2) Generalization and extrapolation. Attempt to explain many problems with one theory.

This is not necessarily the author’s problem. But once a book becomes popular, it is easy to be overly sought after and even misunderstood by readers. Perhaps the most well-known is Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow”.

Why pick it up alone? Because you can often see readers’ messages in the background of my comment area:

  • “Is this thing the System 1 and System 2 in “Thinking Fast and Slow”?”

  • “This can actually be explained by the dual system mentioned in “Thinking Fast and Slow”.”

  • “I suggest that the author take a look at “Thinking Fast and Slow”, it is very clear.”

  • ……

This book is of course very good, but System 1 and System 2 are really not that magical. This is actually something that psychology has studied for many years. It is very basic and very common. For details, please see: Do people have to live very rationally?

3) Subjective tendency. The author has a standpoint, and the books they write will also have a standpoint.

For example: In behavioral genetics, there is a lot of controversy over the influence and role of “innate-nurture”. (Currently the most widely recognized is 50-0 -50 rule, see: This set of rules may subvert your three views).

There is a book in this area called “Gene Blueprint.” This book is very good (Of course there is also the first point of “information lag”), but: the author Robert Promin is a radical Of genetic determinism. So, reading this book, would you expect to see the author tell you that “genes actually have little effect”? impossible.

Another example: There is a popular science book on physics called “The Context of the Real World”. This book is also good. However, the author David Deutsch is a proponent of the “multi-world interpretation” in the field of quantum mechanics, so this entire book is based on the multi-world interpretation. If you don’t know that multi-world interpretation is a niche viewpoint in the current academic world, would you take it as a mainstream consensus?

Speaking so much, I definitely don’t want to tell you: reading is not good. No, absolutely not. Reading is a great thing. Whether it is acquiring knowledge, shaping personality, and perfecting the mind, it is extremely important.

What I want to tell you is: don’t believe in blind faith.

I roughly divide reading into three stages:

  • The first stage: I don’t know what I want.Reading for no purpose, there is not much content left after reading.

  • The second stage: Start to read purposefully, begin to understand your interests, tendencies and needs, and begin to accumulate readings.

  • The third stage: There is a basic knowledge system. Reading is more to receive new and different content and put it into your own knowledge system.

Many people are actually in the second stage, but this stage is also the most prone to blind faith. It is easy to take the words in certain books as golden rules, and use them to understand the world, explain the world, and even regulate the world, thinking that the world should operate in this mode.

This is wrong.

Be sure to understand: Reading does not allow you to turn your brain into someone else’s racetrack, but to read extensively and in large quantities, to incorporate more books into the same topic, and let them collide with each other. Confrontation, integration, and ultimately leaving the essence of information from different channels to form “my opinion.”

This is what we want to pursue.


This leads to our next topic.

Many people read books and often have a problem. I call it “question-based reading”.

What do you mean? One of the most notable manifestations is to pursue “reading a lot of books”, and even use “numbers” as an indicator to measure the effectiveness of one’s reading.

But as I said in the “counter” thinking, please stop: this is actually meaningless.

Why? Because it is easy to fall into the “counter trap”: take “holding” as “possession” and take reading itself as the effect of learning.

If you haven’t finished reading a book, do you get nothing?

After reading a book, do you really “understand” it?

Many people have this habit and are keen on pursuing readingQuantity, such as “I have to read 80/100/120/150 books a year”.

Sometimes, they are also keen on making “mind maps”, making “dry notes” and condensing them-when you ask “what does this book say”, he will take out the notes very quickly And map.

This is great. But: What about your own opinion?

You have read so many books, then I will give you a theme, such as “procrastination”-please don’t quote, don’t show me a mind map, and don’t tell me “what does this book say”, please Tell me, what is your opinion on the topic of “procrastination”?

This is the crux of many people: we attach too much importance to “reading many books” and too much pursuit of “mastering every book”, but few people really think: What is my opinion?

The reason for this situation is largely because we subconsciously regard “finishing a book” as a “topic”, and regard “notes after finishing a book” as the topic. “answer”.

That’s why I called it “reading with questions.”

This is a kind of “author-based” thinking: we are always pursuing “what is the author’s thinking” and “what is the author’s opinion”, as if our purpose of reading is to answer these questions.

But does the author’s opinion matter? unimportant. Your own opinion is important.

The author’s opinion is just a nourishment, ingredient, and supplement to “your opinion”.

More effective reading should be shifted from author-based to reader-based.

One way of reading that I admire is called “topic reading”. What does that mean?

You came into contact with a certain concept today and are very interested in it, then you might as well try to use various channels and methods (including but not limited to Reading, lectures, courses, communicating with people and asking questions, etc.), trying to figure out its ins and outs, and understand it;

You are very concerned about a topic, and you read a book dedicated to this topic. Is that enough? no. You should read more books related to it, find out the information and content related to this topic, integrate them together, and refine a more comprehensive understanding.

Based on “My Views”, I will broadly expand my cognitive boundaries to understand other people’s views on this topic. Some of these may be contrary to me and some of them are consistent with me. It doesn’t matter. Let’s merge them together. In one furnace, we learned from others’ strengths, and finally refined a more comprehensive and higher-level “My New View”.

This is “mainly for me, for my use”.


Some friends may have doubts: But how do you know if “my opinion” is correct? The author must know a lot better than me.

Yes, so it’s very important: Be supported.

There are indeed many people who have their own opinions and opinions on everything, but these opinions often cannot withstand scrutiny.

But the answer is also very simple: Don’t make any assertion easily, and always think about what is behind it.

For example: I was asked by a reader before, how my article was written, and why each article has such a wealth of knowledge and rationale? (not in this article)

It’s roughly like this: I usually first accumulate a knowledge base, which is composed of theory and practical experience. When I came across a topic, I first searched the knowledge base to find out if it was ready.

If not, I will put forward a hypothesis, construct a logical chain, and then consult relevant literature and books to test every link on the logical chain.

Or, I find that a certain ring cannot withstand the test, and its basis is too weak, then I will overturn this hypothesis, change another, and continue testing;

Or, I will find that the whole logical chain is smooth, then I will combine my practical experience and share my understanding and experience with everyone.

In this case, ensure that each link in the logical chain is supported by solid theory and practice; and the reasoning from each link to the next is sufficiently rigorous, then this view is relative More tenable.

Some friends may ask: This is simply academic. Is it necessary to be so serious in daily life?

It really depends on what kind of person you want to be. If you just want to increase the conversation and have something to talk with others, then you really don’t need to be so troublesome; but if you want to understand the world better and make your mental world closer to the real world, why not be serious?

Seriously, you will win.

Like this, push back every “view” of yourself, looking for solid support. If you can’t justify yourself, read books, search for information, and find support. If you find that the information you find is contradictory to your opinion, you should look for the “pros and cons”-this is a process of continuous iteration and upgrading of cognition.

This process, which I call “active learning”, is different from the “passive learning” that uses the model of “reading a book”, “retelling a book” and “making a map of a book”.

So, is this approach difficult? Actually it is not. All you have to do is to go one step further from “passively receiving information” to “actively exploring information”. Don’t be a party of hands, and don’t stay in your comfort zone.

Take an example that impressed me.

In the comments of one of my articles, there are two comments that are almost one after the other.

The first article says: “I talked about this in middle school. What you wrote was wrong, so do you lack common sense or neglect to check?”

The second article read: “I saw this article and found that it was not consistent with the content of the middle school. I checked it and found that the content of the original middle school was simplified. This is a more comprehensive understanding. Thanks to the author Let me add this knowledge point again.”

In many cases, the gap between people may lie in whether you can “take one step more” than others.


One more last word.

Many people often have a very utilitarian mentality when they are studying: I want to use the shortest time to obtain the most effective information. This is “dry goods”, and everything else is imaginary.

This mentality is actually not very good.

Why? It’s very simple. Because in my opinion, the gains you can get from reading, to a large extent, are not in the content of the book, but in what you can think ofWhat, what ideas. These are the most valuable.

The most important thing about reading is not passive reception, but active thinking.

When you are not satisfied with following the context given to you by the author, you do not finish reading a word from beginning to end, but start extensive reading, skip reading, selective reading, and looking for extended material to expand your reading, you are In the “active”.

When you are not satisfied and eager to “read” and “make a map” of a book, and start to read while letting your thinking run synchronously, considering connection, logic, application, and recording inspiration, you are “thinking”.

So, when I see many comments like this, I actually feel sorry for these friends.

“Speaking of which is nothing more than…”

“This book can actually be summarized in one sentence…”

“They are all great principles, nothing new…”

(This part can also be combined with the previous article: “This habit, Is hindering your learning》)

This is no different from buying caskets and returning beads. Because you are just pursuing “freshness”, you are actually losing the most fun and valuable part of reading.

My own habit is like this:

If the author proposes a method, even if it is all some great principles, I would not think “I know all these, what’s new?” Instead, I will think about the highlights of this method? What are the principles and ideas behind it? What problem is it used to solve? How to solve these problems? Can I use it in my own methodology?

The author has written a bunch of cases. I will not just read them, but will confirm the authenticity of these cases and think: Can they be used in other places? What conclusion can I draw from this? Which points of view can it be used to support me?

And so on. Thinking about it this way, there are often new gains.

Of course, there are indeed many poor quality books. So my criteria for selecting books will be stricter. I usually read a book first when I get itNext, see if the content is obviously outdated, if there is the author’s own opinion (or pieced together from elsewhere), if the whole is too shallow, and if there are obvious mistakes…

If these standards can pass, then it will have more or less its own value.


Finally, let’s summarize today’s content.

The first keyword is “practice”.

Reading is not a panacea. Reading can never be learned and practiced. Practice first, theory supplemented, reflect, summarize, and refine methodology from practice to form, shape, and test one’s own way of thinking-this is the essence of a person’s growth.

The second keyword is “open”.

Never blindly believe in a book, a person, or an opinion. The spirit of science is openness and questioning. What we are going to pursue is the “general consensus”, follow up the updated content on this basis, and never rule out the possibility that we may make mistakes, so that we can make progress.

The third key word is “system”.

Reading is not a question. Don’t pursue “the author’s opinion”. Instead, you have to form your “own opinion”. Slowly build your own system, shifting from author-based to reader-based, taking me as the main and for me Used. This is the learning concept that I have always emphasized.

The fourth keyword is “active”.

Don’t stay on passively receiving information, but take the initiative to think, add your own processing, start from your own views and assumptions, and actively explore to form a set of self-consistent logic. In order to make the mental world as close as possible to the real world.

Encourage every friend who is serious about it. : )

The road to knowledge is long and difficult. Let us work hard together.

This article is from WeChat official account:Mr. L said (ID: lxianshengmiao) , Author: Lachel