I follow a blog by Seth Godin, and recently he published a piece called “The Cliff Notes Paradox.” I gotta say, it put the biggest smile on my face thinking of those little yellow books being passed around, mostly by desperate students, almost thirty years ago in High School. I think everyone at some point picked one up hoping to glean some piece of useful information that would change their luck on the final exam. Rarely did it happen.

Quoting Seth Godin:

“Used as intended, Cliffs Notes and Quicklit (Seth Godin’s Cliff Notes of the thirty best selling Cliff Notes) were a gold mine of insight. They opened the door for real understanding, and often got to the heart of the literature better than an overworked high school teacher might be able to.

The paradox? More availability of notes didn’t lead to more learning.”

Why do you consume the information you consume? Do you read to learn? To understand? To live life more fully?

There are so many options today to find summarized content: podcasts, blogs, book summaries, AI Chatbots, etc. With unlimited information at your fingertips, why does it still make sense to read a book? Why would anyone still do a deep dive into any topic? Especially when you’re likely to forget so much of that information?

Again from Seth Godin:

Part of the magic of an actual book is that the reader ends up understanding. It seeps in, the aha’s are found, not highlighted.”

Such great insight from a prolific writer who has put so much great content into the world! 

I have a friend who says he reads my blog (I did kind of pressure him to sign up for my newsletter), so he doesn’t have to read the book. I’m honored he likes what I have to say.  But he’s missing out on the experience of the the book. 

I can’t even begin to describe how important has been in my reading journey. The knowledge seeps in. I just love that idea. Regardless of how much information you remember, what was your experience? Do you feel a part of the story? Were you inspired to change your life based on what someone wrote?

Changing your life for the better is hard work. It takes time and it takes effort. It takes reading or listening to the entire book!