The Power of Books and Social Media: Understanding Smarter Thinking and Annoying Behaviors



Jul 20, 20233 min read


The Power of Books and Social Media: Understanding Smarter Thinking and Annoying Behaviors

In today's interconnected world, we have access to vast amounts of information and platforms to share our thoughts and experiences. Two seemingly unrelated topics, the importance of reading books and the annoying behaviors observed on social media, actually have common underlying factors. By exploring these areas, we can gain valuable insights into smarter thinking and the reasons behind people's online actions.

The Ten-Book Rule for Smarter Thinking

Scott H Young proposes the Ten-Book Rule as a means to gain a comprehensive understanding of any reasonable question. However, it is important to choose well-curated books that represent expert consensus rather than picking random titles. The aim is not to become an expert overnight but to align our knowledge with the dominant viewpoints in a particular field.

One common mistake people make when embarking on this approach is selecting books with "new" or "revolutionary" ideas. In reality, most ideas are not entirely new but build upon existing knowledge. To truly grasp the expert consensus, one should focus on up-to-date textbooks, academic monographs, and canonical texts that are widely recognized as authoritative.

By following the ten-book rule, we can form opinions similar to those of experts, grounding our discourse in a consensus viewpoint. However, pitfalls exist in self-conducted research. Many individuals fail to reach the expert consensus not because it is unattainable, but because they choose the wrong books.

An Analysis: Why Are People So Annoying on Social Media?

The rise of social media has revolutionized communication and publishing. While it offers unprecedented opportunities, it also brings out certain annoying behaviors. Understanding the underlying reasons behind these behaviors sheds light on the dynamics of online interactions.

Firstly, the ability to publish information widely is a relatively new development. The presence of audiences turns individuals into self-serving performers. Sociologist Erving Goffman compares social life to theater, where we deliver performances to shape our own and others' identities. On social media, sharing content becomes a performative act, done transparently and visibly in the presence of a crowd.

Secondly, we interact with constructed profiles rather than individuals. This can be draining, as we often modify our actions to serve our profiles. Every status update or post is essentially a plea for acknowledgment, seeking social approval. People are interacting with the "presented Selfs" or constructs, which may lead to behaviors like humblebragging in an attempt to improve one's social standing.

Lastly, human selfishness stems from ignorance rather than malicious intent. We are often unaware of each other's needs and desires. Instead of constantly pointing out where others are wrong, it is more productive to understand that people's actions are driven by a desire for social approval. Correcting others may be perceived as an attempt to bolster our own image, leading to further annoyance or conflict.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the Ten-Book Rule: When seeking knowledge and understanding on a particular topic, choose well-curated books that represent expert consensus. This approach helps align our perspectives with those of experts and provides a solid foundation for informed discourse.
  • 2. Practice Empathy on Social Media: Recognize that people's actions on social media are often driven by a need for recognition and social approval. Instead of immediately reacting to annoying behaviors, try to understand the underlying motivations and engage in constructive dialogue.
  • 3. Foster Understanding: Instead of constantly pointing out where others are wrong, focus on building bridges of understanding. By empathizing with others and seeking common ground, we can foster more meaningful connections and reduce online annoyances.

In conclusion, the power of books and social media lies in their ability to shape our thinking and behavior. By following the Ten-Book Rule, we can gain insights from expert consensus on various subjects. Simultaneously, understanding the reasons behind annoying behaviors on social media helps us navigate online interactions with empathy and foster a more harmonious digital environment.


  1. "The Ten-Book Rule for Smarter Thinking - Scott H Young", (Glasp)
  2. "An Analysis: Why Are People So Annoying On Social Media?", (Glasp)

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