How to Read: Lots of Inputs and a Strong Filter

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Aug 16, 2023

4 min read


How to Read: Lots of Inputs and a Strong Filter

"The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them," said Mark Twain. These words hold true even in today's fast-paced digital age. Reading is not just a leisure activity; it is a key to personal growth and knowledge acquisition. However, with the abundance of information available, it can be overwhelming to navigate through the vast sea of books and articles. That's why it is essential to have a strong filter and a discerning eye when it comes to selecting what to read.

Charlie Munger, the renowned investor and business partner of Warren Buffett, once shared his reading strategy. He admitted that he does not read most books past the first chapter. Munger's philosophy is simple: he doesn't want to waste his time on bad books. This approach resonates with many avid readers who understand the value of their time. It's better to have a low bar in what books you're willing to try, and even the faintest tickle of interest should be enough to make the cut.

In the age of digital reading, Kindle samples offer a convenient way to test the waters before committing to a full book. These samples are free, so there are no excuses for not giving them a try. If a book fails to capture your attention within the first ten minutes, it's unlikely to have a happy ending. Slam it shut and move on to the next potential gem.

But reading goes beyond just books. In the realm of ideas and innovation, understanding the idea maze is crucial. The idea maze refers to the complex network of existing ideas, theories, and experiences that entrepreneurs navigate when developing their own concepts. When starting out, it may seem impossible to map out the entire idea maze. However, there are ways to find guidance and insights.

History is a valuable resource when exploring the idea maze. Almost all good ideas have been tried before, and studying the successes and failures of previous attempts can provide valuable lessons. By examining what worked and what didn't, you can gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Analogies are another powerful tool for building the idea maze. By looking at similar businesses or industries, you can draw parallels and apply relevant strategies to your own venture. Learning from the experiences of others allows you to avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions.

Theories developed from decades of historical data on tech startups can also help in navigating the idea maze. Smart observers have sifted through the wealth of information available to identify patterns and generalizations. By studying these theories, you can gain insights into what strategies and approaches have worked in the past, giving you a head start in your own entrepreneurial journey.

Direct experience is perhaps the most effective way to navigate the idea maze. Many successful startup founders have learned through firsthand experience, often in their workplaces. By immersing yourself in the industry or field you're interested in, you can gain practical knowledge and insights that are difficult to obtain through books or theories alone.

Ultimately, the goal is to avoid wasting precious time and resources going down the wrong path. The real competition lies in the years you could potentially waste pursuing an idea that may not have a promising outcome. By leveraging historical knowledge, analogies, theories, and direct experience, you can increase your chances of making informed decisions and finding success in your endeavors.

In conclusion, reading is not just about consuming information; it's about filtering and selecting the right inputs. Charlie Munger's approach of not wasting time on bad books echoes the sentiment that it's better to have a low bar in what you choose to read. Kindle samples provide a risk-free way to test the waters before committing to a full book. When navigating the idea maze, history, analogies, theories, and direct experience can all contribute to a better understanding of the landscape and increase the likelihood of making informed decisions. So, grab a book, start exploring, and remember to filter out the noise to find the gems that will truly enrich your mind and your life.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Give yourself permission to put down books that fail to captivate your interest within the first ten minutes. Time is precious, so don't waste it on bad books.
  • 2. Take advantage of Kindle samples to test the waters before committing to a full book. It's a risk-free way to discover new authors and genres.
  • 3. Embrace the idea maze and explore history, analogies, theories, and direct experience to gain insights and navigate your own entrepreneurial journey. Remember, the real competition is the time you could potentially waste going down the wrong path.

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