TITLE: The Art of Not Reading AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: August 25, 2015 1:57 PM DESC: ----- BODY: The beginning of a new semester brings with it a crush of new things to read, write, and do, which means it's a good time to remember this advice from Arthur Schopenhauer:
Hence, in regard to our subject, the art of not reading is highly important. This consists in not taking a book into one's hand merely because it is interesting the great public at the time -- such as political or religious pamphlets, novels, poetry, and the like, which make a noise and reach perhaps several editions in their first and last years of existence. Remember rather that the man who writes for fools always finds a large public: and only read for a limited and definite time exclusively the works of great minds, those who surpass other men of all times and countries, and whom the voice of fame points to as such. These alone really educate and instruct.
"The man who writes for fools always finds a large public." You do not have to be part of it. Time is limited. Read something that matters. The good news for me is that there is a lot of writing about compilers by great minds. This is, of course, also the bad news. Part of my job is to help my students navigate the preponderance of worthwhile readings. Reading in my role as department head is an altogether different matter... ~~~~ The passage above is from On Books and Reading, which is available via Project Gutenberg, a wonderful source of many great works. -----