Every book has its time

I’ve recently finished reading the book “Show your work!” by Austin Kleon. The fundamental thesis of the book is that a big part of doing good work and continuing to grow, is to share it with others – and not just the final output, but the process, the journey, the influences, the ups and downs and the challenges. Our work can be a great way to connect with like minded people with similar interests – the work that we do, draws others with similar interests towards us.

While I’ve had this book sitting on my bookshelf for a long time, I hadn’t really picked it up until now. I believe that each book has its time in your life – the same book could be just “meh” at one point, but much more impactful at another. What a book does for you is influenced so much by your current life context – the challenges you’re facing, your mood, your mindset. This is why I’ve gotten into the habit of buying books that seem interesting, but not necessarily reading them immediately (I only buy second hand books to keep the cost down!). Depending upon my mood and things going on in my life, I’ll pick up a book to read.

Side note: A fun read on how a bookshelf doesn’t always have to be fully read is Umberto Eco’s theory of the library.

And so, when I picked up this book recently, it felt as if it came at the right time for me. I’ve had various projects and hobbies that I’ve dabbled in for a long time, but no central place where I could talk about them. I’d been thinking about putting together a site for a long time, and this book helped push me past the last mile. What was just a “meh” book a few years back (for me), had a much bigger impact on me this time around.

This reminds me of another book that sat on my shelf for a long time before I finally got around to reading it – the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. This book had been sitting on my shelf for a very long time – it was so thick that I could not get myself to pick it up. And then one day, I heard a podcast with Walter Isaacson, and I guess that was the impetus I needed. I finished the book in a few weeks after listening to that episode. That book got me interested in learning more about the Renaissance, the value of maintaining good notes, journaling, and my suspicion is that it might have in some way influenced my interest in book binding too.

Leonardo da Vinci’s biography by Isaacson

My point is – do not worry if you buy books and then don’t feel like reading them immediately. Buy books that you think could be interesting, could have things for you to learn about. But give them time. You never know when the time is right 🙂

Categories: Books

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