Right now I have three tabs open for books I plan on reading: Designing Data-Intensive Applications, Google’s Site Reliability Engineering, and Deep Learning. Unfortunately these tabs have been open for over a week and yet I haven’t deeply committed to any one of them. Yet during this time I spent a bunch of time reading a variety of blog posts and articles that provide bite size information. This is terrible. I could have instead spent the same amount of time actually diving deeper and gaining a much better understanding of a new topic but instead I distracted myself and resorted to the easy reward.
I suspect many people fall into this trap. It feels as if we’re learning and given the massive amount of information that’s constantly being produced there’s always something to read. Most of the posts we read go in one ear and out the other but committing and reading a book makes the content much more sticky and valuable. As a child I was able to read books for hours at a time but now find myself constantly distracted - whether that’s looking at my phone for notifications, checking my email, or catching up on Twitter - but as an adult I’m less focused than a child. This needs to be fixed and I’m making a concerted effort to focus my time on books rather than blog posts and am going to push others to do the same. I also realize the hypocrisy in me preaching to read books in a short blog post but it is what it is.