6 Things Not to Read in Any Book
Most of us grew up with the rule that if you open up a book, you finish it. Now, of course, we have lives. Here are six things to skip or skim—with zero guilt.
To Skip: The Meat-of-an-Idea Book
Some books float into the universe one day and take over the conversation of our entire world, from the Sunday school picnic to the family reunion. For example, "thinking without thinking" in Malcolm Gladwell's Blink or "eating with almost no carbs" in The South Beach Diet. I'm curious about these ideas. I want to chat about them over rosé with neighbors. But I don't want to read 300 pages about them, including the research that led to them or the three or four lesser-known applications that they've inspired in the scientific community. So unless you're giving a lecture on the topic, let's all give ourselves permission to buy idea books and read about the main ideas—which, conveniently, are usually exquisitely summarized in a long prologue or introduction—and then skip all the elaboration, even if you happen to find it astonishingly smart (see: Blink).