Books are Tweets

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And now X’s —

I recognize that this is a difficult problem to solve because my brain has been rewired and trained to spend time on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and another handful of these places serving you bite-sized pieces of content.

So I came up with a technique in which I began to treat books as if they were blog posts to be read on the fly, or as bite-sized tweets or Facebook posts to be shared. Nothing fancy, but a simple mental switch I reinforce every day. Habit building. I no longer feel obligated to finish any books. I’m free to pursue other interests.

If someone mentions a book to me, I will purchase it, most often in eBook format, which will be stored as a digital file in my personal knowledge repository.

I’m currently reading summaries and snippets from tens or even hundreds of books at a time. A spider’s web pulsing through each tiny fiber is a metaphor for the knowledge that is up and interconnected in the world. I’m constantly flipping, skimming, adjusting, speeding things up, slowing them down, and boiling things to the point of dehydration and death. I’ll either start a book in the middle or finish it from beginning to end.

I’m not sure what it was about the book that caught my attention while I was flipping through it in the public library.

Again, I don’t feel obligated to finish reading the book.

I treat books as if they were mere pieces of information that I could easily discard and throw away back into the world.

I argue that data becomes temporarily interesting by itself to some self-improving, but computationally limited, subjective observer once he learns to predict or compress the data in a better way, thus making it subjectively simpler and more beautiful. Curiosity is the desire to create or discover more non-random, non-arbitrary, regular data that is novel and surprising not in the traditional sense of Boltzmann and Shannon but in the sense that it allows for compression progress because its regularity was not yet known. This drive maximizes interestingness, the first derivative of subjective beauty or compressibility, that is, the steepness of the learning curve. It motivates exploring infants, pure mathematicians, composers, artists, dancers, comedians, yourself, and (since 1990) artificial systems. - Driven by Compression Progress: A Simple Principle Explains Essential Aspects of Subjective Beauty, Novelty, Surprise, Interestingness, Attention, Curiosity, Creativity, Art, Science, Music, Jokes

It’s all about compression.