How many books have changed the way you think?

“You have gained nothing but information if you have exercised only your memory” is a quote from “How to read a book” by Charles Van Doren and Mortimer Adler.

In this book the author explains how to get the most out of every book you read. A key distinction in the book is reading for information vs reading for understanding. In the first case we increase our knowledge of a subject by acquiring new information, in the second case we change our understanding of the subject and reevaluate all previous knowledge in light of the new understanding. How many books have changed the way you think?

Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking showed me a different way to look at smoking, it re-framed my mind, demolished the constructs that kept me a slave to nicotine and rebuilt a healthy understanding of the addiction. It took multiple reads to fully understand its concepts, copious notes to distill them from the rest of the narrative, time to reflect on them.

The last step, before we can internalize new concepts, is acceptance: as I read somewhere “we become what we accept”.