For the last year or so I have had a subscription with the service blinkist which provides summary’s of popular non fiction books, with a focus on business and self improvement literature. I thought it would be an effective way to screen books to decide what books I would want to read in full.
There are a number of books that I have read both the full text and blinkest summaries. I found the blinkest summaries moderately helpful. I often find they emphasizing points I didn’t think were particularly important and failed to highlight what I thought were the most important points. I was surprised by this until I thought about my experience with a number of books.
There are several books I have read multiple times. Each time I read these books I had a different experience. Things I once thought were a focus of a chapter now seem more like footnotes, and there are passsage I have no memory of from this first time I read the book, I seem to have completely missed the point the first time through which later seeem to be a major focus of the he book.
This is a reminder that our perspective is shaped by our current life situation and has a huge impact on what we perceive, which in turn effects what we learn. It’s not surprising that the summary of a book written by someone with a wildly different life experience will call out very different and highlights.