There was an interesting discussion thread on Hacker News today, on the subject of the value of reading books.
proposed premise was that, essentially all information must be freely
available on the world wide web, right? Is it still worth it to read
books? Or can you just scour blogs and tweets to find anything you want
My own personal book-reading time has waxed and waned
over the years; I would readily and heartily agree that I get more
enjoyment and satisfaction out of reading a book than I do out of most
web browsing, but web browsing is easier, and it at least superficially
feels like I am reading and learning.
The Hacker News thread includes many insightful comments. One that I found especially valuable is from user ivan_ah:
The way I see it, non-fiction books are all about distillation of information. Yes most of the information from books is freely available online in some other form, but you’ll have to dig for it in many places, and learn from many narrators.
The benefit of the book-length information product is that a single author went through all the possible sources and used their expertise to give a coherent story on a subject. You can think of the book as someone who read 100 blog posts for you and extracted the useful info from them.
There is a great wealth of information in blog posts. Now, as an
experienced VueJS user, I can read an individual blog post and get an
answer to a specific question. But when learning the framework
initially, I found it beneficial to read a book, to have that “coherent
story” rather than a bunch of discrete chunks of information.
should also be an encouraging thought as a writer. It can be easy to
talk yourself out of writing a book on a subject because everything that
you know about it, you learned from someone else! That whole sum of
knowledge is already out there on the web! But you can nevertheless
distill your own coherent story into book form, and produce a beneficial