The internet as an anti-library

Professor Umberto Eco had a huge library (with more than 30,000 books) that several of his visitors admired.

Based on their remarks, he divided his visitors into two categories. The first type  would look at the library and ask him how many of those books he has read. The second type – a small minority – understood that the library wasn’t to boost one’s ego, but a valuable research tool. They realized that the books that weren’t read were more valuable than the ones that were already read and digested.

When you own a library of 30 books, you have probably read all of them. When you have 30,000 books, knowing which book you need to read next and where to find it is more valuable than the mere number of books you have read.

Fortunately, we all live in a world where our digital libraries are lined up with an excess of 30 million books – more than any human can ever hope to read.

Enormous numbers put things in perspective. The internet has demonstrated that deciding which book to read and where to find it is a far more valuable skill to develop than the ability to wolf down book after book on a reading list.

Inspiration: Umberto Eco’s anti-library

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