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Erik Rostad (Creator/Books of Titans project)

Here is something that recently helped me. It comes from the book A Mind at Play by Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman. I'll quote the passage directly and then describe how it helped me:

"What does information really measure? It measures the uncertainty we overcome. It measure our chances of learning something we haven't yet learned. Or, more specifically: when one thing carries information about another–just as a meter reading tells us about a physical quantity, or a book tells us about a life–the amount of information it carries reflects the reduction in uncertainty about the object."

When I read this, I actually felt as if a lightbulb was going off. One question I get a lot with this reading project is "how do you remember everything you read?" I have never liked that question because I think it is the wrong question. Here, the authors sort of flip that on its head. If you don't read, or you aren't learning about a topic, the possibilities of what that could be are endless. By reading, you are "reducing the uncertainty about the object," so in theory, it should take less space in your mind.

I had begun noticing that the more I read, the more clarity of thought I was having. I did not expect this at all. I had assumed that the more I read, the more confused or inundated I would become. But the opposite happened. One of the main reasons I give for this is that if you begin seeing ideas over and over, in different types of books, that makes that idea stronger. If I'm reading about the importance of time in novels, biographies, business books, and other non-fiction, that is an important topic and one I should focus on.

The quote above helped me figure out the other piece of the information overload puzzle. That the more you read, the more you are narrowing down the possibilities of what could be. If I have yet to read a book about a particular historical figure, then the possibilities are endless in terms of information that could be true in my head about that person. But, if I have read a book or two about the person, it narrows down the possibilities.

Amazon description

In their second collaboration, biographers Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman present the story of Claude Shannon—one of the foremost intellects of the twentieth century and the architect of the Information Age, whose insights stand behind every computer built, email sent, video streamed, and webpage loaded. Claude Shannon was a groundbreaking polymath, a brilliant tinkerer, and a digital pioneer. He constructed the first wearable computer, outfoxed Vegas casinos, and built juggling robots. He also wrote the seminal text of the digital revolution, which has been called “the Magna Carta of the Information Age.” In this elegantly written, exhaustively researched biography, Soni and Goodman reveal Claude Shannon’s full story for the first time. With unique access to Shannon’s family and friends, A Mind at Play brings this singular innovator and always playful genius to life.

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