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There is a small but exciting chance that you find a life-changing intuition when reading a new book, this makes it very tempting to never re-read. In practice, I often find rereading very good books valuable.

The best books are very dense and contain lots of good ideas, many mediocre books take one central idea and fluff it out. The more I read, the less likely it is that

  • a) I find a really good book I haven't read, and
  • b) that I haven't already seen that idea elsewhere

(Preferring older books is a way of using other people's exploration, since time filters out a lot of the chaff)

This is not to say that I have read all the great books, or even all the good books – there are more than anyone could read in a lifetime. In as much as a book covers some truth about the world, human condition, etc. though, there will be overlap between books, and it may not be necessary or useful to cover the same idea again and again through probably inferior texts.

I almost never re-read, other than some of the stoic writers, but I should do so more. 1 re-read to every 2 new-reads seems a good ratio. As I get older it should likely lean more toward re-reading.

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Last modified 2019-07-12 Fri 09:05. Contact