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Missing Parts of Books

i stop listening and think about other stuff when listening to Atlas Shrugged sometimes

i don’t pause or rewind. i just tune back in later. i know the book well enough it’s not a problem. i know what’s going on where i pick up.

i do the same thing, sometimes, with books i’ve never read before. if that’s how it’s convenient to read, so what? why try to get every detail out of the book? if it’s so great, read it again later in the same low-burden way.

figuring out what’s going on after missing some is interesting anyway. both with books about ideas and books with plots.

and it’s actually not fundamentally different than reading without skipping anything – where you also have to make guesses and use creativity to figure out what’s going on. all novels give incomplete information about the plot and leave you to try to figure some things out. all philosophy books try to explain a lot but can never do all your thinking for you.

Elliot Temple on May 7, 2015

Comments (6)

me too

After learning about coercion, long after that I think, I recognized that I was coerced while reading books and essays. I wanted to find out why and to fix it.

I found myself tuning out and then tuning back in, a lot. And I think this was part of the reason I was coerced.

Most times when I would tune back in I had no clue what was going on in the book, maybe just because the tune out phase was so long. So, often I would go back to read what I missed, sometimes finding out that it took a long time just to find out where I had tuned out.

Sometimes I did this like 7 times consecutively at the same point of a book.

I remember thinking that I would just push through, keep reading despite my being annoyed by this.

Also I noticed sometimes that it was the same string of words that led to me tuning out. like because it was especially confusing or boring. This is actually something I could have exposed to crit on fi so that I could get help in fixing my reasoning about this.

Since I noticed this coercion-while-reading problem, I stopped reading books and I tried to read smaller things like essays, trying to do it without coercion.

Now I can read an essay without much tuning out. And if I do tune out, I am a lot more skilled about getting back to what I was reading, both mechanically (in finding where I was) and mentally (in the sense of getting back on the same thought train I was on earlier).

Anyway so now I don't get coerced about reading essays.

Thinking more about why I was coerced, I remember feeling dread in deciding to read an essay or book like "oh crap that's another essay/book I want to read, so now the list is BIGGER, how will I catch up if the list keeps getting longer?"

It's so dumb because I should have been thinking more like "OH SWEET ANOTHER ESSAY THAT ILL LOVE READING!!! MORE MORE MORE!" Like, reading is fun, imagine not having anything fun to read!?!?

So anyway I wanted to start reading books again (this time to see if I could do it without coercion) but I was hesitant. I went months just continuing to read essays.

Then I was going on a long plane trip and decided to try C&R on paperwork (which I had purchased a long time ago).

In my first sitting I read like 40 pages. I was surprised by how easy it was. No coercion. And I realized that I had a stupid belief that this book would be hard to read/understand for me. There were only a few parts that I felt confused about and that didn't bother me at all (didn't make me feel like the book was too hard for me to read).

Then on my return plane trip I read another 60 pages. Same thing again. No coercion.

Anonymous at 7:21 AM on May 19, 2015 | #2476
>Since I noticed this coercion-while-reading problem, I stopped reading books and I tried to read smaller things like essays, trying to do it without coercion.
>Now I can read an essay without much tuning out.

So what happened in there? Was the actual problem the length? And you wouldn't take breaks before? What were the *actual* mistaken ideas you have fixed to solve the problem?

>And if I do tune out, I am a lot more skilled about getting back to what I was reading, both mechanically (in finding where I was) and mentally (in the sense of getting back on the same thought train I was on earlier).

Do you always go back to find where you were and re-read those sections which you missed? Are you not coerced now just cuz you find this happening less or that you are more skilled at finding your spot and rereading? Or are you actually now reading in a less thorough / get-every-detail kind of way?

>Then on my return plane trip I read another 60 pages.

why don't you post your thoughts to FI on what you've learned from C&R? You would get a lot more out of it and it could help correct any misconceptions you have. There's huge value TO YOU in writing out what you've learned and trying to explain it to others.

Erin at 10:01 AM on May 19, 2015 | #2478
>>Since I noticed this coercion-while-reading problem, I stopped reading books and I tried to read smaller things like essays, trying to do it without coercion.
>>Now I can read an essay without much tuning out.
>
> So what happened in there? Was the actual problem the length?

The actual problem can’t be length. The actual problem has to be a conflict between a preference I have about something in reality and that something. But maybe I had a preference against length. Not clear on why. More on this below.[1]


> And you wouldn't take breaks before? What were the *actual* mistaken ideas you have fixed to solve the problem?

I don’t know. I think it was a vague feeling of wanting to be finished with the book or essay. Like, I even had that feeling with long essays and I didn’t with short ones. Analogous to wanting to have a list of books/essays already read — which is something I mentioned in my first post where I said that I had a vague feeling of *OMG how am I gonna catch up when my list keeps getting longer?*. It’s as if I *wanting to be finished learning* the list of books/essays instead of *wanting to learn* the books/essays. This is all afterthought so I don’t know if it’s actually what I was thinking. It’s just what I’m analyzing now about how I was thinking.

I expect that it was also connected with caring about comparing me to others, like other people learned these books already, and I haven’t yet, so *bad feeling*. I don’t think I have this problem anymore (comparing me to others).


On another note, maybe it was partly about what I could finish in one sitting. Like if I started a book or long essay, and then I stopped my first session of reading, I would be reluctant to start it again. And the more time passed, the more I didn’t want to start it again. Like, starting the book/essay again means trying to reengage with the ideas, re-wrap my head around the ideas, and there’s a transaction cost there. And maybe I viewed that transaction cost as an annoyance. Kinda like, “Ah man I have to start over (at least a little bit).” It doesn’t make sense though, like it contradicts reality. I’m pretty good about picking up a book where I left off and remembering what was explained in the previous reading session. So I think there was a vague mistaken feeling that I’d have trouble reengaging with the content.


>> And if I do tune out, I am a lot more skilled about getting back to what I was reading, both mechanically (in finding where I was) and mentally (in the sense of getting back on the same thought train I was on earlier).
>
> Do you always go back to find where you were and re-read those sections which you missed?

No. I need to clarify something. Sometimes I have two thought trains going while reading. One is the stuff I’m reading and another is whatever I started thinking about. The 2nd one (a tangent) is sort of taking away attention from the 1st one (the ideas i’m reading about). So if I realize that I’m only half-way paying attention, I’ll recognize that there might be something I missed. And depending on what the thing is that i’m reading, I might decide to be ok with that and just move on instead of rereading the text that I was only paying half-way attention to.


> Are you not coerced now just cuz you find this happening less

I don’t think that’s it. I think I changed my preference. I don’t think that it’s a case of reality changing to match my preference. But I don’t know. Maybe it’s some of both.


> or that you are more skilled at finding your spot and rereading?

I don’t think that’s it either.

I think that I no longer mind that I tune out, because tuning out doesn’t affect my reading anymore. Like, I don’t even think it affected my reading before either. I think that it was my (mistaken) preference for not tuning out that caused the coercion.

There’s another thing too. I used to have vague bad feelings about taking a tangent in my mind while somebody was talking to me. I’d have a fear of “Oh no, I just tuned out and I have no idea what this guy is saying. SHIT!” And no matter what I tried to do I couldn’t stop tuning out.

Now though, I don’t give a shit if I tune out. When I tune back in I’ll just say “Hey, I tuned out there for a moment, can you repeat that last part of what you said?” And nobody ever has a problem with this. Or I’ll just not care about it because sometimes the person I’m talking to isn’t really saying anything that they really want me to analyze.

Hmm, now that I say that, this means to me that caring about what other people think was the problem. Like, I feared having an awkward social situation, and tuning out in social situations led to the awkward situations. But when I stopped minding awkward social situations (in the sense that i no longer find them awkward), I no longer minded tuning out.

Now maybe, just maybe, my tuning out in social situations had some connection with tuning out while reading books/essays. Like, I had a vague bad feeling about tuning out in social situations and that vague bad feeling got activated while tuning out while reading a book/essay.


Hmm, now here’s something that is opposite of all of this. When I first started reading BoI I didn’t mind tuning out. It happened a loooooooot. Like way more than any time before or after that period of my life. I’d tune out because i’d be taking tangents, fun tangents. Connected ideas from what i was reading to other stuff in my mind. And now that I think of it, my fear of awkward social situations caused by me tuning out is something that is much much older than my reading BoI. So I guess that I was wrong about what I said earlier about there being a connection between tuning out in social situations and tuning out while reading books/essays.


> Or are you actually now reading in a less thorough / get-every-detail kind of way?

I don’t know how to judge whether i’m reading in a less thorough way. For one thing, I’m a lot more skilled in reading comprehension now, so I could now be reading less thoroughly while still doing better at understanding what i’m reading. In the sense that i’m consciously doing things less thoroughly, but i’m unconsciously (second-nature) doing things more thoroughly.


>> Then on my return plane trip I read another 60 pages.
>
> why don't you post your thoughts to FI on what you've learned from C&R? You would get a lot more out of it and it could help correct any misconceptions you have. There's huge value TO YOU in writing out what you've learned and trying to explain it to others.

Yes I’m going to do that. During the first 40 pages of reading, I was taking notes on my phone. So I have that to start with. During my next 60 pages of reading my phone was dead so I didn’t take notes.

"me too" guy at 8:40 AM on May 20, 2015 | #2479
Learning doesn't finish and life isn't about a list of accomplishments or about what you do after you learn.

At least if you're rational. A lot of bad lifestyles have crap like: learn until 22 (the number varies), then done and live life.

About tuning out in books, if you miss parts then it (socially) doesn't properly count as (fully) reading the book and marking off the checkbox for it, in such a way that you can now tell people you read it and talk about any part of it.

You should post notes/comments/crit/questions/etc on BoI too. I think that's more important than C&R in general.

The dead phone issue is irresponsible, not dealing with life well. And look what it affected. Whether or not to take notes should be something you decide, not a happenstance on whether you have a phone with batter in front of you. If you don't have note taking materials, you should get them, rather than letting that little thing determine such a big thing (notes or not). If you cared about your ideas and thoughts more, and were responsible, then you'd care to make sure notes happened so the ideas don't get lost.

Elliot at 4:29 PM on May 20, 2015 | #2480
>About tuning out in books, if you miss parts then it (socially) doesn't properly count as (fully) reading the book and marking off the checkbox for it, in such a way that you can now tell people you read it and talk about any part of it.

Not only can you not tell other ppl that you fully read it, but you can't tell yourself that. And ppl work REALLY hard to create this self-image of Rational, Learning, Smart person. So flitting around btwn chapters, missing parts, reading in a more relaxed way makes it harder to hold up that self-image of scholarly, rational, smart learner.

>If you don't have note taking materials, you should get them, rather than letting that little thing determine such a big thing (notes or not).

ya, i'm guessing it wouldn't have been that hard to find at least some sort of pen/paper in the airport if you didn't have that on you.

Erin at 6:00 PM on May 20, 2015 | #2483
> Not only can you not tell other ppl that you fully read it, but you can't tell yourself that.

Yeah, for people with that kinda mindset they use what they could tell others (even if it doesn't come up) as a standard for themselves.

Elliot at 6:02 PM on May 20, 2015 | #2484

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)